Third-Grade Teacher Brings the Whole Child Approach to the Classroom

One of the goals of educators is to alter their teaching system to benefit the students, as they learn what works best. When third-grade teacher Kathleen Costonis was at Stonehill College studying child development, she knew that she wanted to work with children, but she wasn’t sure in what capacity. It was a professor who inspired her to teach when he gave her a book that he wrote about educating the whole child. Knowing that there were many facets to education, Costonis instantly became fascinated with teaching students on an individual level while taking care of their whole being. She brought this ‘whole child approach’ to her third grade classroom at the Arthur T. Cummings School 27 years ago, and hasn’t wanted to do anything else since.

Costonis is a firm believer that each child is unique and she even has a sign in her classroom that says, “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful,” hoping that her students will grow to appreciate their unique qualities.

Tell us about your background…

I grew up in Winthrop, with nine brothers and sisters. I went to Winthrop High School and then to Stonehill College where I studied child development. While teaching third grade, I got my master’s degree from Salem State University. I have two amazing daughters and wonderful sons-in-law, a 2-year-old grandson, a 1-year-old grandson, and a 10-month old granddaughter. Life is busy and fun.


If you could do anything else besides being a teacher, what would you do?

I can’t imagine doing any other job, but if I had to pick something, it would probably be staying home and enjoying every minute with my grandchildren.


Do your students inspire you?

My class is special.  They come in every day with a willingness to learn and when things get tough they persevere.  My students fill each day with joy and laughter.

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