Education aims to give every student opportunities to learn and thrive, but our current education system has not been designed to promote the equitable opportunities or outcomes that today's children and families deserve and that our democracy and society need. Our system was designed for a different world—to support mass education preparing students for their presumed places in life. That world believed that talent and skills were scarce, it trusted averages as a measure of individuals, and it was a world in which racist beliefs and stereotypes shaped the system so that only some children were deemed worthy of opportunity.
To achieve the transformation we need today, education systems must be willing to embrace what we know about how children learn and develop. This knowledge has been well established through the science of learning and development, which shows that the range of students' academic skills and knowledge—and, ultimately, students' potential—can be significantly influenced through exposure to learning environments that use whole child design. To facilitate this transformation, this playbook translates and highlights the science, structures, and practices that can become the foundation for a new approach to learning when integrated and implemented. These design principles do not suggest a single design or model but suggest an approach to systemic change that supports equity for all students and the development of the full set of skills, competencies, and mindsets that young people need to live and thrive in their diverse communities.