Outline the Concept of Holistic Development and How It Can Be Promoted Through a Forest School Programme

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Outline the concept of holistic development and how it can be promoted through a Forest School programme

Holism is the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and holistic learning is based upon engaging all aspects of the learner - the mind, the body and the spirit. The concept of holistic development has influenced many pioneers of progressive education, from Johann Pestalozzi, Francis Parker and John Dewey to Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner. The American Transcendentalists, Thoreau, Emerson and Alcott were also advocates of holistic learning.

Abraham Maslow‘s theory of ?self-actualisation‘ encompasses this holistic view; the development of an individual‘s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative, and spiritual potential. Playing and exploring in a natural environment encourages children to become engaged in and have responsibility for their learning. It is an environment that promotes questioning and creative exploration which in turn provides opportunities to feel comfortable asking questions and trying out new things. Making fires, cooking outdoors and building shelters all provide children with a chance to assert personal control and to learn to problem solve creatively.

The holistic approach asks ?What does a child need to learn?‘ A Forest School Programme helps to answer this and helps develop respect, self-esteem, relationship skills, social and emotional literacy, resilience and a sense of continuing wonder. Children feel free to ask the questions and to provide an answer. Knowledge becomes an integrated and contextual part of the child. Holism is the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and holistic learning is based upon engaging all aspects of the learner - the mind, the body and the spirit. The concept of holistic development has influenced many pioneers of progressive education, from Johann Pestalozzi, Francis Parker and John Dewey to Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner. The...
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