”Holistic development involves the growth and development of an individual as a whole, including
physical, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects. It recognises that each of these aspects
is interconnected and equally important in achieving overall well-being. Focusing on holistic
development can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life.”
All children are unique and special in their own way, and it is essential to know that children and
young people follow a development pattern.
To analyse children’s and young people’s development, it is critical to understand what the term
The term development refers not to the physical growth of children but to the skills and knowledge
they are developing. To understand further a child’s development, we divide into the following areas:
Aspects of development
Cognitive and neurological child development: it is an area that encompasses the way the brain
processes information. Being able to remember someone’s name or being able to distinguish two
different colours is an example of cognitive skills. Cognitive development is strongly linked to
communication and language development.
Speech, language and communication development: this area refers to learning to communicate with
others and understanding their communications. Talking, reading, writing and gestures are all linked
to this area. Communication and language development are linked to cognitive development because
more sophisticated touch involves thinking about what others are thinking and trying to express.
Physical development: This area includes all bodily movements. Physical development helps children
to gain independence. This specific area is divided into fine motor (tying shoe laces) skills, gross
motor skills (throwing a ball) and locomotive movements (balancing and walking).
Emotional and social: This area is about relationships and understanding and is linked to cognitive
and language development. Emotional and social development refers to controlling emotions and
being able to understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
Development is holistic.
It makes sense to separate areas of development. Still, it is essential to understand that children are
whole people and don’t develop their skills separately but co-dependently.
A holistic approach to child development means understanding that the child’s physical, personal,
social, emotional and spiritual well-being is interconnected. By making this assumption,
practitioners focus on the child’s development as a whole rather than focusing only on the cognitive
aspects of learning.
A holistic approach is essential when planning and assessing the needs of a child. It allows us to
determine the child as an individual and understand what they have achieved and have not achieved
by looking at how the developmental areas link up and how progress in one area can affect progress
in another. For example, a child can use a spoon (physical), which leads to greater independence and
increased self-esteem (emotional).
This approach allows early learning and childcare workers to plan for future activities involving the
child, which will help their overall learning, development, and well-being.
Benefits of the holistic approach in early years
A holistic approach should consider the child’s whole life and environment. Being rigid can prevent
While every aspect of development is connected, learning is happening simultaneously.
The holistic approach is imperative for exposing children to opportunities to find and develop their
strengths to the best of their abilities and strengthen their weaker skills.
Holistic learning at MTO nursery
Our nursery considers the holistic approach to children learning and development. Our early years’
practitioners are trained to plan and organise various creative activities to support children’s
development depending on children’s interests and individual needs.
Following are some activities in our setting to support children while they improve and develop their
- Sensory play
- Nature walks
- English sessions
- Circle times
- Yoga session
- Baby massage and relaxation
- Free flow
- Messy play
- Art sessions
Contact our team or speak with staff for more information about holistic learning in the early years.