While the roots of holistic education (with its focus on addressing the learner’s academic, social, ethical, and emotional needs) can be traced back to ancient times, it was only during the 1980s that entered the mainstream educational system. And even so, its popularity is yet to truly as traditional methods still dominate most schools in the U.S. and elsewhere. However, this doesn’t mean that benefits-wise, this approach is inferior to all the other educational system models.
Among the known benefits of holistic education are enhanced academic performance and problem-solving capacity, better emotional and mental state, and reduced ill effects of inequities. Judging from these benefits, it’s easy to see why this approach to educating learners is a novel one.
Now, if you’re a parent or someone in charge of giving a kid holistic education, how do you go about doing it? Here are eight educational opportunities that, when taken together as a unit, would help raise holistic kids:
- Music lessons. Music lessons such as piano lessons or classes (which are some of the most popular music lessons) not only enhance a kid’s creativity, but also aid in developing the learner’s self-confidence, motor skills, and cognitive abilities. There are music lessons that are done in a dedicated facility while there those that can be done in the comfort of the student’s home (a great option in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic).
- Literacy/numeracy development. Developing a kid’s literacy and numeracy skills is a critical component of every holistic education effort. In fact, basic numeracy and literacy are integral parts of almost all teaching approaches because of their practical uses. The skills under these teaching models include writing, reading, speaking, listening, communicating, and solving mathematical problems.
- Exercise routines/physical activities. Children who are under a holistic education system should have at least one hour of physical activities during each learning session. These physical activities may include basic exercise routines, team or individual sports, and the like. The idea is to offer a range of activities that would develop a child’s strength, mobility, and balance.
- Emotional lessons. Among the most challenging parts of any holistic education are the emotional lessons that are geared toward developing the learner’s affective or emotional intelligence (EQ). Children who were given emotional lessons or learning experiences are known to grow up with better interpersonal skills and empathy towards other people.
- Art classes. Just like music lessons, classes in the arts are designed to discover or enhance a kid’s creative genius. With approaches like having the kids draw different shapes, put colors on illustrations, trace patterns, kids develop not only their creative side but their motor skills as well as practically all art lessons involve eye-hand coordination.
- Socialization. Aside from knowing about literacy, numeracy, the arts, music, and health and wellness, kids who are under a holistic education program should also be taught social skills. Given how important interpersonal skills are, learners must know how to mingle with others in a socially acceptable way. By learning how to socialize, they will also develop their self-confidence and learn how to follow rules and observe etiquette. In the end, the ability to socialize with fellow kids and adults as well can do wonders in developing a holistic child.
- Religious/spiritual lessons. Holistic education or not, looking after a learner’s spirituality through lessons on religion and faith is a critical aspect of educating a child. Given how critical faith-based learning is in raising upright children, educators and parents must exert all conceivable efforts to offer various religious and spiritual lessons to kids. Lessons can be as simple as discussing Bible verses to reenacting Biblical scenes can go a long way in making kids aware of the value of faith. Kids should also learn how to apply their faith in everyday life, like praying when they have problems or if they want to thank God for a blessing that they received.
- Co-curricular activities. Curricular activities can be strengthened with co-curricular activities and learning opportunities. Activities that fall under co-curricular include spelling bees, school-based journalism, writing contests, quiz bees, and membership or participation in clubs such as student council or subject-based clubs (Maths Club, English Club, Science Club, and the like). By engaging in these learning activities, kids can supplement the knowledge they get from their regular subjects and widen their horizons on the different learning opportunities that they can devote their time to.
Achieving a holistic education for kids can be a tall order, given how varied the learning situations and opportunities must be. But if the end goal is raising kids who don’t have IQ but EQ as well, then all the efforts are surely worth it.