What is a Holistic Education?
Ho·lis·tic | /hōˈlistik/
A holistic (whole child) education designs a program that connects to all areas of a child’s life, and recognizes that all aspects of a child’s growth are interconnected. This includes the child’s social/emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being. Furthermore, it helps the child build connections with the natural world, to understand our role and dependence on nature. It also honors the child’s spiritual growth, by honoring and respecting the beliefs of the child’s family and culture.
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~ Ron Miller
The value of a holistic education is recognized worldwide, with UNESCO developing the Holistic Early Childhood Development Index (HECDI) with the goal that all children meet their full development potential. The HECDI states, “Extending from conception to the age of 8, early childhood experiences carve out pathways towards health and well-being that persist throughout life. Science clearly demonstrates that such holistic approaches greatly increase the chances that children will complete school, experience good physical and mental health and contribute positively to their societies.” A holistic education can be accomplished in many ways, but it is characterized by providing an education which teaches to all aspects of a child’s growth without overemphasizing one particular aspect of that growth.
How Children Learn
UNESCO Holistic Early Childhood Development Index (HECDI) Framework
What Are Schools For: Holistic Education in American Culture
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. This is done, not through an academic “curriculum” that condenses the world into instructional packages, but through direct engagement with the environment. Holistic education nurtures a sense of wonder.