A holistic approach to education
Holism means “unity” because we are more than the sum of all of our individual parts. As Aristotle states in the Metaphysics, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts“, often used in the definition for “synergy“. In other words, different parts need to interact and work together in order to function as a system.
Holism can be defined as the practice of interconnectedness between our inner self, our body and our mind, as well as the aesthetic sense of beauty inside and outside each of us. It also includes the feeling of connection with nature, along with the whole planet, as we are all part of the global human community.
Thus, holistic education attempts to foster the development of the whole person, enabling the expression of one’s full potential. It nourishes every aspect of the individual, which includes the physical, social, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, creative and spiritual parts.
In the Art of Education, Rudolf Steiner, an outstanding holistic educator and philosopher of the XIX century, writes that “our task is to introduce an education that focuses on the whole person – body, soul and spirit – and these three principles will become known and recognized”.
Any one of us can be a holistic educator and many of us are, perhaps even without consciously realising it. Parents who educate themselves about holistic education are more likely to prepare themselves, thus ensuring their children grow to be more capable and confident in managing life’s challenges.
Afterall, isn’t that what every parent wants for their child so they can thrive?
"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"
Teachers can also be holistic in their teaching methods by acquiring a more informed awareness. In their role as educators, they have the capacity to inspire and encourage children’s’ minds, behaviours, emotions, and creativity just by being present in the classroom.
Home educators can also provide an influential role as holistic educators by being mindful in their interactions with children as well as acting as positive-imitative models for the child and for the family. They can be a bearer of ethical and moral human values, thus shaping the child’s personality.
“Nanny” doesn’t just mean “babysitter”. A nanny can be an important and multi-faceted support system such as a home-tutor, a guardian and a nurturer for the child and therefore also for the whole family.
Your choice of a home educator and school directly impacts your family’s life.
TEACHERS, NANNIES, TUTORS, PARENTS are serious jobs, as education should be one of the most important aspects of our lives. We can only create a better future if we invest now in a holistic approach to education that can nurture the whole child and prepare him/her to become an integrated and responsible individual.
Only we can create a more enlightened future by rediscovering the important role of holistic education in our society.
In a future post, I will explain the meaning of these values in detail. For example, the difference between be authoritative and be authoritarian. I will also further analyze the qualities and skills necessary to become a holistic educator.
In order to be an effective educator, we have to try to integrate these values into our daily lives, just as we would when interacting with children, both in the classroom and in families’ homes.
Truth be told, we don’t need university degrees to be conscious of these virtues. They are available to all of those who choose to become better people and, as a result, more effective educators.
Children feel our emotions and they need to understand that their parents and teachers really care about them. They require parents and teachers who are fully dedicated to them. They really need our love, our presence, and our positive examples, from which they can be inspired in their lives.