03 Mar 2022

Supporting the Holistic Development of Children

Childcare and Education

As times change, so do our approaches to teaching and learning.  It can be so easy to get caught up with all the new and improved teaching techniques and learning styles that we tend to forget about the basics.

Now, who doesn’t love basic?

Teachers and early childhood educators are being encouraged to get back to the basics by focusing their teaching methods to a holistic approach to support early childhood development.

Like most of us, we learn best when we are feeling motivated and inspired. Children are the same.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and imagine you are back in your childhood; jumping in puddles, playing in the mud, building sandcastles, finding insects, exploring, discovering how things work - all the fun stuff! That’s what being a kid is all about… right? Exploring and discovering!

And that’s what the holistic approach is– learning and interacting with the natural world and opportunities for challenge, risk-taking, and social development.

This approach involves children exploring and discovering as a way of learning by becoming highly engaged and actively involved in their interdependence between people, plants, animals and the environment. By supporting the holistic development approach, teachers and childhood educators are creating a safe, interactive and positive environment in their community to support childhood development.

What is Holistic Development?

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.

The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) of the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) encourages early childhood educators to focus on the holistic approach to their learning technique, rather than focusing on the traditional academic milestones of intelligence. By focusing our attention on the connectedness of a child’s mind, body and spirit we are embracing the real and authentic developmental opportunities regardless of children’s culture, socioeconomic background, gender or age.

In other words, early childhood educators use the holistic approach to connect children’s development with their natural environment and build strong relationships through active learning and social activities.

Allergy triggers in kids

How Can I Support Holistic Development?

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:

Ask open-ended questions

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.

Build Strong and Trusting Relationships

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.

Identify the Child’s Interests

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 an engaging and inviting environment

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.

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.

If you are interested in taking your interest in Early Childhood to a deeper understanding, Foundation Education offers a range of highly relevant online courses in early childhood education with specified units that foster holistic development in early childhood.

So whether you want to take this further and into a new career or simply want to be a better parent, we can help get you there. Find out more about our CHC30121 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care course or check out our range of other Childcare and Education courses. Enquire Now and speak to one of our career advisors for more information.

Get in touch with us today.

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