Whole Child Development identifies four natural urges that drive our growth throughout childhood into adult life: Being Me, Us, the World, and Human Creations.
Being Me is about children learning how to use their body and explore their mind. The ability to control their body allows them to discover the world and as a result they can get to know where they are at and who they are.
By using their body, children put their five senses to work. This is how they learn to walk, speak, listen and develop healthy habits.
Us is about how children relate to friends, family and strangers and their understanding of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Children seek the love, attention and respect from their parents and they also have a natural urge for social interactions with others. That means children need to learn to share and care and understand other people emotions – intentions, ways of thinking and behaviours. They need to learn to move away from their own limited point of view and integrate other people’s perspective to develop a more complex understanding of morality and social problems.
Making sense of the world means figuring out how things work, that’s why children play! Through exploration they quench their thirst for seeking logic and discover the universe. Through play children learn how things work and discover fundamental laws of real life.
Human Creations is ability to imagine alternatives. If we can image something new, we are able to go and actually create it. Without imagination, all innovation would happen by chance. That’s why children need fantasy and a lot of free time to play pretend. In this way they learn how to think out of the box.
Whole child development is also known as holistic education, seeks to engage children in the whole of their being and potential. It assumes that each child arrives at this world with their own set of talents and interests that are to some degree completely independent from the child’s upbringing.
To learn more about holistic child education you can read the book The whole child development guide by Prof. Edith Ackermann.