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Holistic development

What does it mean?

Holistic development takes into account the whole child and emphasises the importance of their physical, social, emotional, cognitive, moral, creative and aesthetic abilities. Every aspect of a child’s development should be recognised and valued in order to maximise the potential of the child.

The preschool years are also a window of opportunity for developing children’s executive functioning skills:

  • Working memory: This enables children to keep information in mind and retrieve for use when needed.
  • Inhibitory control: This enables children to deliberately suppress impulsive actions, ignore distractions and temptations, and to pause and think before acting.
  • Cognitive flexibility: This enables children to think about something in multiple ways and take on different perspective and approach an activity or solve a problem in more than one way.

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How can you do it?

You can provide opportunities for children to develop the values, social and emotional competencies, learning dispositions, as well as the knowledge, skills and dispositions across the five learning areas.

You can provide opportunities for children to develop values, social and emotional competencies and learning dispositions in the following ways:

  • Role model the values you would like children to adopt through your daily interactions with children and other stakeholders.
  • Explicitly teach social and emotional knowledge and skills through stories, games and interactive activities.
  • Foster learning dispositions through learning experiences as this involves the complex interaction of the knowledge and skills related to social and emotional development and values.
  • Make use of strategies such as creating a positive climate, building strong relationships, seizing teachable moments and making use of learning opportunities within routines and transitions.

You can help children to build, practise and enhance executive functioning skills by establishing routines, modelling social behaviour, and creating social situations that require children to focus their attention, remember and follow instructions, take turns, manage their emotions and behaviours, and plan, organise and complete tasks. This will enable them to participate in daily activities and navigate the school environment for learning.

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