The Holistic Development of a Child During the Early Years
A- What is Holistic Development in Early Childhood?
Holistic development means developing the whole child – socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.
A child’s home and environment also impact their overall development.
B- Why is Holistic Development Important?
In order for children to succeed and reach their full potential, all aspects of their development must be given attention.
While it may be easy to default to focusing on a child’s intellectual abilities during the early years, it is equally important for a child to develop skills such as:
- emotional intelligence
- social ability
- fine and gross motor coordination
- and many other skills!
Holistic development is the key to learning in the early years of childhood.
As a parent, in your role as your child’s primary educator, you can start your children on an early learning path to success.
C- What are the Five Aspects of Holistic Development?
The following are the five key elements or areas of development that are the main focal points of holistic development:
- Personal and physical growth – all about growing and developing motor skills.
- Social skills – how you interact with others and communicate in your world.
- Emotional understanding – learning to express emotions in a healthy way.
- Intellectual development – cognitive, creativity and acquiring skills for learning.
- Environmental values – appreciating and caring for the world you live in.
The early years are a vital time to lay the foundation for a healthy and happy life.
The following tips will help you create a holistic approach to educating your child.
D- How to Support the Holistic Development of Your Child
1. Personal and Physical Growth
- Understand the physical milestones your child will experience. Have a thorough knowledge of the importance of motor skills and how they are developed.
- Engage in gross motor activities or big movements and explore ways to climb, jump, swing and run.
- Take time to experience fine motor skills, or small actions, like holding a crayon, moulding playdough, digging in the sand or playing with blocks.
2. Social Skills
- Build social skills by connecting your child with other children and adults.
- Practise actions like sharing, taking turns, enjoying a meal together or going on an outing.
3. Emotional Understanding
- Create awareness of others through books and stories.
- Learn empathy.
- Share experiences and discuss the outcomes of events.
- Be aware of your child’s emotional needs.
4. Intellectual Development
- Developing children’s cognitive skills comes with exposure to play. Play and learn is a very real concept to focus on in the early years. Children are constantly learning at home during free play.
- Active participation is by far the best form of education.
- Reading to your child adds to the dynamic of cognitive development creating an interest in many different topics and developing vocabulary.
- Graduation cap symbolizing the holistic development of a child.
5. Environmental Values
- As the child in the early years becomes more aware of his background, so a parent can add to the development of the child in this area.
- The environment begins in the comfort of their home and then branches out into the real world.
- Set up your child’s bedroom or play area intentionally and encourage your child to respect and enjoy his belongings.
- Teach your child to take care of the environment outside of the home.
- Participate in the community and branch out whenever possible.