Holistic development for students

Apr 2019

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Importance of holistic development for students

The education sector in India is experiencing improvements by leaps and bounds in the current era. Armed with technological advancements and a thorough understanding of the psychology of children, education has become an ongoing process dedicated to the progress of life. It is no more just a tool for career building and financial stability. Instead, it has become an integral part of the growth and development of a child’s mental, social, physical, emotional and cognitive aspects.

What is holistic development?

Understanding the psychology of a child and his/her development is an obligation for all those involved. There is an integral need to develop a perception of the implications of children’s developmental processes in order to process each and every individual issue. The key to this is observation: a keen eye on children and interpreting the observations is the way to go.

Education jobs in India are not limited to scholastic expertise anymore. A teacher needs to be well equipped to understand the upheavals in moods of a child and respond accordingly. It is up to those involved in training the mind to train the soul as well, which brings about the need for counselors and practitioners of holistic development. The aim is to chart out every child’s individual capabilities and compare their abilities to the norms of a child their age. A comparative analysis and its results along with relevant reading are used to explain how the traits of the child and aspects of his/her environment may interact to influence his/her growth and development.

Holistic development for students seeks to simultaneously address many factors: the physical, emotional, spiritual, relational and intellectual aspects. The importance of the Holistic approach lies in the fact that it is the children who learn different skills in a stage-wise manner, including walking, talking, fine motor skills, etc. Holistic development of students is the overall development in various spheres.

Why holistic development?

Studies have shown that through playful learning experiences, students can acquire broad, dynamic and interconnected skills rapidly and effectively. There are five skills of holistic development which are essential to children’s positive development. These are needed to navigate successfully and survive in an uncertain and ever-changing world.

Gone are the days when parents had time to dedicate entire days to a child. With the way the society is progressing, most families are nuclear families with both sets of a parent employed. While previously children were nurtured thoroughly by mothers so as to develop a worldview, now it’s all about quality time over quantity. This implies schools need to incorporate more than just academic activities to cover for the absence of upbringing that parents indulged in once upon a time.

Also read: How career counselling is one of the essential components of today’s education

Main principles of holistic development

Holistic development seeks to target child personality development in the following ways:

Cognitive

Cognitive development relates to the brain and its development, i.e, the child’s intelligence. An average brain develops up to 90% of its potential by the age of 5, so children entering preschool are already nearing full development in terms of cranial capacity. What is then required is to sharpen and hone this intelligence. It is common knowledge that young minds are quicker at absorbing information, akin to a sponge. With proper guidance, these fresh minds can master much more. Cognitive development involves thinking, problem solving and understanding of concepts.

Language

Language and speech are integral parts of an upbringing process. Speaking well and articulating are necessary skills in today’s world. Below the age of 5, children capture linguistic abilities fast and bloom well. Since the brain develops rapidly, it is necessary to stimulate by sight, sounds and speech patterns. Children start with small words in their mother tongue and slowly move on to complex sentences. Gradually, the shift is made towards other languages, commonly English or a third language.

Social-Emotional

Bringing up the social and emotional sides of the brain requires students to go through experiences that allow provisions for positive relationships while teaching control of emotions. Trust and security are fundamental parts of this, without which a child may grow up to be unhinged. It’s not unheard of for a child going off track due to negligence or necessary guidance. Security found with trusted adults leads to attachments and a strong foundation for future emotional links as they learn to be confident and secure in their abilities and sense of self.

Jobs in education sector these days require training of the caregivers so that they can encourage young minds in self-restraint or control over their rampant emotions and understanding of feelings inside. As the brain develops, children are overwhelmed by various new and fluctuating emotions like anger and sadness. There is a need for assistance in order to teach them to take charge of these emotions. Anger management, dealing with sensitivity, depression, ego, etc. are aspects of healthy social-emotional development. This ensures a child is more open to other forms of development involved in the holistic approach.

Physical

It is common knowledge that children are little balls of unbridled energy. This energy is essential to make the necessary neural connections for overall healthy and complete development. Exercise and movement of any form lead to increased blood flow in the body. With increasing blood flow to the brain, the child becomes capable of acquiring new information and concepts. It is the development of the gross and fine motor skills that enable a child to be healthy and fit. Not only that, children learn to be aware of their sensory understandings and recognize their implications to implement well in the future.

Also read: Reasons why scoring average isn’t the end of the world

In conclusion

What children require today in schools are not only academic lessons. Jobs in the education industry now require qualifications to handle personality development and imparting of life skills. A schooling system that helps the child understand his being, emotions and mental duress while teaching them how to build up healthy, functional relationships and develop resilience team spirit is the true form of education. Such a system boosts the morale of a student so that they can go on to achieve greater heights in their careers while becoming upstanding citizens of the society who contribute to the growth and development of the country.