Why is understanding how children grow and develop importantly?
Understanding how children grow and develop is an important obligation for all those who work in an early years setting. A holistic perspective to child development seeks to simultaneously address the physical, personal, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a child’s life. To meet the holistic needs of a child, practitioners endeavour to take responsibility for the development of the whole child and are committed to working alongside families and communities to help children develop their potential. There are many varied holistic education theories that have emerged over the decades. To support fine and gross motor skills, Maria Montessori identified a prepared environment, containing specific materials that children can use independently. This seeks to encourage physical development and responds to the children’s readiness for sensory and intellectual stimuli Rudolf Steiner Waldorf approach, is based on an intuitive understanding of a child’s needs and their evolving personality at each level of development. In Waldorf school’s children’s learning is led and planned by teachers who develop age-appropriate group activities based on the children’s personalities and learning needs. In Quaker schools, education is based on the teachings of Tantric guru P.R. Sarkar, adopting meditation, periods of silent reflection or journaling, yoga and other centring practices to focus on the spiritual aspects of a child’s life to encourage mindfulness and self-awareness. Other holistic approaches, the Reggio Emilia (1963) system of early childhood education places great emphasis on artistic self-expression and engaged creativity to help expand the children’s academic and social potentials.