Holistic Development is an approach to learning that emphasises the importance of the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children, particularly in early childhood.
A few quick tips on how you can support and encourage the holistic development in early years as an educator, teacher, teacher aide or parent are:
Learning is experimental. By asking open-ended questions, you are allowing children to think for themselves, and explore their thoughts with cognitive thinking rather than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Let them explore their train of thought and see how their thinking develops.
Children engage and communicate better when they can connect with people they trust. By building a strong relationship with a child, you are creating a strong and safe community and improving connections between children, parents and other educators. Teacher Aides, in particular, are great for connecting with children individually and developing strong and nurturing relationships, especially children with special needs.
Understanding an individual children’s interests and understanding what motivates them will help guide children to discover their identity and purpose in life through their connections to the natural world and spiritual values. By identifying children’s interests, you can take a small idea and expand on it by broadening its learning opportunities.
For example: A child loves planes. A great early childhood educator will take that opportunity to expand this child’s learning by researching into planes. How planes are made, how many different types of planes there are, why we use planes, when were planes invented, and the list goes on!
Take a child’s passion and turn it into a learning opportunity!
Create a comfortable and safe environment for children to connect and be themselves in. Make it inviting with the use of colour, child-friendly furniture, interest corners, and areas for individuals, small groups, and space for creative play.
Supporting children as they learn at their own pace is important for their early childhood development and we should encourage and take every opportunity to explore their interests in a comfortable, natural environment. The holistic development approach is becoming more recognised throughout early childhood development and a ‘hands-on’ approach for teachers, teacher aides, and early childhood educators.