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What is a Holistic Approach to Education?

Updated: 6 days ago

What do you think of when you hear the term holistic? Alternative; new- age; out there? For a long time, I resisted using the word holistic when describing my business for fear of giving the wrong impression. Ridiculous, I know. So what does the word holistic actually mean?

The definition of holistic, according to the The Cambridge Dictionary, is:

dealing with or treating the whole of something or someone and not just a part.

Simply put, holistic education nurtures the whole child.

When we view a child through a holistic lens, we begin to see them as an individual with unique needs. We take into account their background and experiences, their interests, their strengths and difficulties, and in doing so we are able to tailor learning to suit them.

Through a holistic approach to education, the emphasis is not simply on academic ability but emotional literacy, metacognition (learning about learning), executive functioning skills, neurodiversity, social skills and so much more. Below are just some of the many ways in which holistic education has a positive impacts on learners:

Emotional Intelligence: By prioritizing emotional wellbeing, holistic education helps students develop self-awareness, positivity, confidence and resilience. This equips them with the skills to navigate challenges throughout their lives and build healthy relationships within, home school and, eventually, work- place settings.

Executive Functioning Skills Development: Beyond traditional academics, holistic education focuses on practical life skills such as communication, teamwork, and time management. Often over- looked in a traditional classroom setting, these skills are essential for success in any field and help students thrive in diverse environments.

Physical Health and Wellness: Holistic education recognizes the importance of physical health and wellness in overall development. By integrating physical activities, education about how their brains work, and mindfulness practices, it promotes a balanced lifestyle and instills lifelong habits for wellbeing.

Nurturing Creativity: Holistic education encourages creativity and divergent thinking by incorporating arts, music, and other creative outlets into the curriculum. This approach helps students explore their passions, play to their strengths and develop innovative problem-solving skills.

Critical Thinking Skills: It encourages students to think critically and question assumptions, fostering a deeper understanding of complex issues. This analytical mindset prepares them to tackle real-world problems and make informed decisions.

Sense of Purpose: Holistic education encourages students to explore their interests and values, helping them discover their passions and purpose in life. This sense of purpose motivates them to set meaningful goals and pursue personal and professional fulfillment.

Lifelong Learning: Perhaps most importantly of all, holistic education instills a love of learning and a growth mindset that extends beyond the classroom. By nurturing intellectual curiosity and a thirst for knowledge, it prepares students to adapt to a rapidly changing world and continue learning throughout their lives.

At Rainbow Learning and Wellbeing, our commitment to holistic education underpins everything we do; that means prioritising building connections and forging relationships with every child. It means looking beyond academics and developing a child’s sense of self. It means understanding that every child has unique strengths and challenges to overcome. It means teaching your child that mistakes are a part of learning and that it's OK to ask for help. In doing so , we ensure that children are able to thrive within the classroom and beyond.

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