Ode to Jessica Molloy
By Danny Molloy
Ever since Jessica Molloy was a young woman, she dreamt of offering comfort to all children with any learning challenge. School was never easy for Jessica as it often made her feel bad about herself. Diagnosed early on with dyslexia, she remembers those days thinking how much she disliked school and how they treated her.
It wasn’t until her undergraduate school that she encountered a teacher that inspired her and treated her regularly. He understood who she was and how she learned best, and he taught her that way. If only her other teachers had taught her that way, her academic life would have been much better and more manageable.
From there, she thrived in school and went on graduate school training as a behavioral therapist to help the children she knew were not being supported. Halfway through her graduate program, she realized that her true path was in education. She knew that the way education was being taught must change. Students need to see that they can enjoy learning and how it will make a difference in their lives.
Our society has built our education system on a “one-size fits all” model, and over time we have seen that this is not working. Since no two students are alike: each with distinctive strengths, needs, skills, and interests, then why not have a unique learning program that allows students to reach their full potential?
After many years working in private and public schools, Jessica knew she needed more; she wanted to change how education was taught. She knew without a shadow of a doubt that children can learn and feel positive simultaneously.
What better way to prove that her concept worked than to start a school? Entering its sixth year, The WHILDE School is a private homeschool program in Yarmouth, Maine. WHILDE, which stands for Whole Child Education, is a holistic education-based program focusing on the students’ strengths, needs, skills, and interests.
Holistic education is like when one decides to plant a tree; they do not just pay attention to the type of seed. They make sure to use the right kind of soil; they check to see if the area they are planting has adequate drainage, enough sunlight, and ample water. Holistic education is no different when wanting to teach children. It is a comprehensive approach to developing the intellectual, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of the whole student.
Founded on Jessica’s passion for creating a place that allows students to have an individualized curriculum program tailored to their learning styles and interests, the school creates an environment where children thrive, become aware of, and are confident in their strengths and themselves with multi-age pods and over 40 in-person and online students.
Jessica also has a private practice where she and other coaches meet with students one on one, primarily working with students with superpowers such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and anxiety, to name a few, along with executive function deficits. When education is approached from a holistic level and is about the individual student, it doesn’t matter what needs your student has, as those needs will be looked at.
Society is always looking for a diagnosis and a treatment to “fix” our students instead of meeting them where they are and helping them find ways to learn how their brain takes in information. We need to accept neurodiversity in our culture and recognize that there are no one-size fits all way to learn.
Jessica’s true pride and joy is how she evaluates her students and creates the best plan so students have a greater chance of academic and life success. Known as the WHILDE Method, it is a holistic assessment approach focused on creating a Whole Child Educational Plan, using an assessment strategy and plan to determine which areas of the body and mind need assistance to help with lagging skills and challenges students experience in everyday life and school.
The WHILDE Method provides a clear picture of the student’s social, emotional, and physical needs so that one can incorporate its findings into their instructional practice with the student. In public and private schools, there are many educational plans that support students’ special educational needs, such as IEPs, 504s, and ISPs.
The WHILDE Method is for ALL students and complements any traditional plan schools may provide. Be primed with information and insight about your student that conventional programs do not offer.
Jessica also has an active home life on a Casco Bay Island with her three daughters, two dogs, and husband. There is never a slow moment in Jessica’s life, but she wouldn’t want it any other way! The lives she has impacted with her love and kindness are too many to count.