What is meant by holistic development?

What is meant by holistic development?

Explore the idea of holistic development/education. The Forest School approach to learning is a holistic one. This means, rather than focussing solely one area of learning, participants are able to experience sessions that are designed to cater for the spectrum of developmental needs: physical, intellectual, linguistic, emotional, spiritual and social. The core of such an approach acknowledges that different people (children in the case of forest schools) learn different things at different rates and in different ways. Taking a holistic approach enables the learner to move through a process that emphasises their overall development, instead of one that may fix on specific, narrow attainments. 1

Identify key concepts and theorists. Some of the key theorists around the holistic development of children from the 20th Century are: Montessori, Steiner,

Include what a learner would expect to experience within a holistic development focused environment.

There are many learning theories that support placing the child in the centre of the learning experience (rather than the attainment of a prescribed outcome). Two theories that inform the above approach are: Scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development (Bruner/Vygotsky) and Levels of Risk (Mortlock).


  1. UKEssays. November 2018. Holistic Development of a Child. [online]. Available from: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/young-people/a-holistic-approach-to-child-development-young-people-essay.php?vref=1 [Accessed 22 September 2019].
  2. UKEssays. November 2018. Constructivism 3: Bruner and Scaffolding. [online]. Available from: https://www.ukessays.com/courses/education/approaches/constructivism-3/lecture.php?vref=1 [Accessed 23 September 2019].

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