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The Importance of Holistic Development in Early Childhood

As parents and caregivers, are we noticing the word ‘holistic’ all around us? Well, it is the new, hot word in early child development and rightly, so considering there has been a massive shift in early childcare ideology. We are now recognizing that academic excellence alone cannot guarantee overall life satisfaction.

As parents and caregivers, are we noticing the word ‘holistic’ all around us? Well, it is the new, hot word in early child development and rightly, so considering there has been a massive shift in early childcare ideology. We are now recognizing that academic excellence alone cannot guarantee overall life satisfaction. And thus, we have the emergence of holistic development. A complete strategy that focuses on a child’s academic, physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development.

Toddler independence activities, encouraging independence in toddlers, and independent play for toddlers are all essential for building independence in young children. These activities empower toddlers to be independent, fostering their holistic development

Why Does Holistic Development Matters in Early Years?

Did you know that more than 85% of a child’s brain development takes place before the age of six. The pace of absorption and growth is unprecedented, which is something unique to the early years. Imagine the difference we can make by capitalizing on these years by creating the most positive experiences. Even the UNESCO has acknowledged the importance of holistic development with the Holistic Early Childhood Development Index (HECDI) which revolves around five critical themes: care, education and child deveent indicators, policy and planning indicators, social protection indicators, legal protection indicators, and health and nutrition indicators. 

The idea of holistic development stems from the fact that each child is unique, and each one learns differently. We must help them harness their full potential by working on different skill sets and abilities, so they can understand, interact, and positively influence the world around them. Teaching self-help skills to toddlers, toddler self-care activities, and promoting autonomy in toddlers are crucial for developing independence in preschoolers. Toddler self-sufficiency activities, strengthening independence skills in toddlers, and fostering self-reliance in young children are all part of this holistic approach.

Why is holistic development such a boon to our little bundles of joy? 

  • It views each child as a whole person with varied areas of growth that need equal attention. 

  • The approach is child-oriented, which keeps in mind that we are not in the process of manufacturing adults; we are in the process of facilitating unique individuals, so they can become the best versions of themselves. 

  • There is a huge emphasis on happiness and overall wellbeing and not just academic achievement. 

  • Children are active participators in their development. Information is not passed onto them as in a traditional classroom setting. They chart their own methods of learning with a supportive adult who guides them through it. A child’s natural curiosity is at the forefront here. 

  • Holistic development helps children develop a big picture, understand context, and interlink learnings, which helps them become courageous thinkers with a will to apply and perform. 

  • It broadens their worldview. They learn to appreciate differences and combine learning with play.

Are you wondering what simple steps you can take in helping the little ones develop holistically?

Here are some ideas!

  1. Encourage physical activity and a love for the outdoors 

Our little observers learn more through play in the early years than in any classroom. Maximum senses are stimulated and their nature of exploration surfaces when they are left outdoors to do as they please. Studies show that children who have an active childhood with more time in the fresh air tend to grow into healthier and happier adults.

  1. Create an environment for emotional development 

Our little ones have big emotions, and they are probably experiencing many of them for the first time. Creating a safe space where they can feel and express to a trusted adult is so important for their emotional wellbeing. This also helps them develop emotional fortitude that will help them deal with bigger challenges in adulthood. Make sure you top it up with a warm hug or a word of encouragement every now and then. You will not believe the boost of joy it gives your offsprings.

  1. Create opportunities for enhancing cognitive performance 

If cognitive development had a backend, it would be good nutrition. Choose healthy foods and snacks that will function as a foundation for every other pillar of development. But do not forget to add some fun in everything you do. For instance, bake a cake together. Let them get their hands in some dough, which is a terrific way to fine tune their fine motor skills. Interactive toys, puzzles, and building blocks are other methods to spark their intellect.

  1. Nurture social connections 

Building connections with peers and the ability to play in groups is an essential social function that must be fostered. It forms the basis of healthy social interactions that help little ones build confidence. Give them the opportunity to work on this skill through ample group play time, play dates, and other community events.

Dibber International Preschool is an active proponent of holistic development. It is one of three primary areas of the Dibber Childhood model along with playful learning and interactions. Our approach is made enjoyable with children learning through all their senses, so they can practice independence and achieve mastery through good experiences.

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