Institute of Total Education
Teaching and Leading from the Heart and Soul

The Total Education Story

The concept and practice of Total Education was developed by educationalist, Vijayadev Yogendra. Raised in  India, Vijay had exposure to great thinkers through his revered father,  Shri Yogendra, founder of the Yoga Institute, one of the first bodies to undertake scientific investigation of Yoga practices. He also worked with the Nehru Government as an educational adviser, undertaking extensive research in India on the full range of educational possibilities, resulting in recommendations for a National System of Education which blended the best of Indian tradition with the needs of the contemporary world.

After coming to Australia in the 1960s, Vijay established the Total Health and Education Foundation in 1970, to promote holistic approaches in health and education that would serve the needs of the post-modern era. He created a new philosophy of education which draws on the wisdom of ancient Indian thinkers as well today’s philosophers and service-based practitioners. He invited a series of guest scholars to Australia and gave them a forum to present their ideas on education and life in the late 20th Century.  The idea was to discover the principles of living which these varied people had distilled as being essential for a happy and contributive life — ideas which turned out to be remarkably similar.

From this innovative beginning, a working example of the philosophy of Total Education emerged, with the opening of the School of Total Education in Melbourne in 1977 and in Warwick, Queensland in 1981. Through the more than 30 years that have passed since that time, the philosophy of Total Education has stood up to the challenges of the era. Indeed, many of the principles that are central to the School’s philosophy have now been taken up in mainstream education including: values education, social-emotional education, greater parent involvement, balancing academic and character development and a broader approach to health and physical education.

The Institute of Total Education has been established to facilitate the sharing of this experience in holistic education with the broader educational community. The consultants from the Institute have all been involved in this remarkable project for many years and have a deep understanding of the principles on which the  philosophy of Total Education is based.

“Total Education is a highly coherent approach where the relationship of the teachers, the values of the school, its pedagogy and even its physical structure bonds people together in a way that allows them to achieve something positive collectively. This happens not in theory but in practice.”

Emeritus Professor Frank Crowther, Board Member, QELi

“Research shows that parent engagement in children’s education is of benefit not only to student achievement but also to the whole school community. Many parents find barriers to this involvement due to family circumstances or perceptions of the school environment. The program developed at The School of Total Education not only engages parents, but also addresses these issues by supporting parents, providing access to parenting resources and opportunities for connection both within, and when necessary, outside the school community. Parents, teachers and students are encouraged and supported to build co-operative relationships, working together for improved holistic outcomes for students. The model of The School of Total Education offers some valuable lessons that could be of benefit to many school communities."

Fleur Creed, Executive Officer, Queensland Independent Schools Parents Council (QISPC)