Holistic Education

Holistic education is based on the premise that each person finds identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to spiritual values such as compassion and peace. Holistic education aims to call forth from people an intrinsic reverence for life and a passionate love of learning. It instills an ethical balance between the heart, mind, and soul.

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Throughout the two-hundred-year history of public schooling, a widely scattered group of critics have pointed out that education should strive for more than to mold students into future citizens and workers, but to develop latent potential and creativity in all areas of life. The Swiss humanitarian, Johann Pestalozzi; the American Transcendentalists: Thoreau, Emerson and Alcott; the founders of “progressive education”: Francis Parker and John Dewey; and pioneers like Maria Montessori and Rudolph Steiner, all insisted that education should be understood as the ‘art of cultivating the moral, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of the developing child.’ During the 1970s, a growing body of literature in science, philosophy and cultural history provided an overarching conceptual framework to describe this increasingly popular form of education, generically termed holistic. The holistic way of thinking seeks to encompass and integrate multiple layers of experience and meaning, rather than narrowly defining human possibilities quantitatively. Every child is more than a future employee; every person’s intelligence and abilities are far more complex than his or her scores on standardized tests.

Education, itself, is universally recognized as a fundamental building block for human development and a great advantage in reducing poverty. NNF believes that education is a powerful driver for the development of the individual and society as a whole, expanding the psyche, improving intelligence, health, gender equality, peace, and stability.

San Francisco State University Guardian Scholars
Golestan Center for Language Immersion and Cultural Education
Keep Children In School Foundation
The Esalen Institute
Mother Miracle
Omid Foundation

San Francisco State University’s Guardian Scholars Program (GSP) is a comprehensive program of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), in collaboration with the School of Social Work which serves former foster care youth who are pursuing their undergraduate degrees. Launched in the Summer 2005, the GSP is a new program at SF State that is tailored to fit the needs of undergraduate students who were formerly in foster care.

The individual case management services offered will enhance EOP’s current academic focus. The Guardian Scholars Program partners with on campus departments, and works with off-campus social service groups to ensure a pipeline for CSU eligible youth in foster care. The combined partnership of SF State’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and the SF State School of Social Work defines a commitment to student success and empowerment with a goal of graduating Guardian Scholars who are self-supporting, conscious community leaders, role models and successful professionals.


Golestan is committed to teaching Iranian Language and Culture to children while helping other communities in their efforts to raise curious, confident, generous, kind, compassionate, dignified, and altruistic children. Located in Berkeley, CA, Golestan Kids school provides an education that rivals the best progressive programs in the United States, while offering a fully immersed environment where children do not feel self-conscious about speaking Persian/Farsi.

The mission of the organization is multifold.

Golestan strives to cultivate young people with knowledge of and respect for Iranian language and culture to foster their development as active members of a diverse multicultural community.  Equally critical is the goal to encourage student development of reasoning and creative abilities through a dynamic and progressive program that draws from a diverse set of educational philosophies. The school serves as a model and resource for other communities (of all backgrounds), so that they may have the opportunity to create an enriching and idyllic school in their very own community.


KCIS’s mission is to  break the cycle of poverty by helping children stay in school.
KCIS implements its mission by matching sponsors from across the world directly to children whose families cannot afford to keep them in school, thus enabling them continue their education from grammar school through college.

Additionally, KCIS cultivates partnerships with other non-profit organizations with common goals as well as increases public awareness about the social justice dynamics and its link to education.


Esalen is a noun and a verb, a seat of energy, an exhilarating adventure, a wellspring for the mainstream. It is a place of pilgrimage, grounded in a wildly alive environment—the spectacular, unparalleled, convergence of mountains and water that is the Big Sur coastline. Esalen also travels the world as an inextinguishable, animating spirit—healing lives and history, sweeping away tired paradigms, and igniting change. There is nothing else like it.

Esalen is not only a retreat center or an educational institute. Anchored by the inspiring beauty of Big Sur and an unparalleled intellectual history, Esalen is a world-wide network of seekers who look beyond dogma to explore deeper spiritual possibilities; forge new understandings of self and society; and pioneer new paths for change.


Mother Miracle’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children and families living in an impoverished community in Rishikesh, India. By providing this community with an opportunity to obtain a quality education, computer skills, job training, health and nutritional assistance, medical care, women’s rights education, sustainability, and environmental awareness, Mother Miracle hopes to empower these underprivileged individuals and to assist them in creating a better future for the community as a whole.

Our strategy is simple. By educating very poor but extremely smart children from a young age, we give them a chance to excel and to fully reach their individual potential. By offering them the resources and opportunities to succeed in society along with skills to develop their community, we are moving towards creating a better future not only for each child, but for entire families and for generations to come. Our students will use these skills and continue to be involved with programs at Mother Miracle School. Our strategy gives an essential task to all individuals at Mother Miracle School. We hope our students will return in the future to become teachers and role models, passing on their knowledge to the community.


The Omid Foundation is committed to strengthening the social, emotional and economic opportunities of disadvantaged young women in Iran. We provide them with a sense of self worth and life and opportunities in three key areas: self-empowerment, education and training. We pride ourselves on our holistic approach to helping these young women learn to be treated with respect, dignity and kindness.

The Omid Foundation also provides counseling assistance and entrepreneurship. Women leave our program feeling proud, strong and able to live their lives happily and confidentially in today’s society. Now in our second decade, we believe that we have developed one of the most effective programs in the world.