What is Holistic Education?

Rudolf Steiner believed that education should be more than just shaping and moulding children into future workers, only teaching their minds. He insisted that education should be understood as the art of developing the emotional, physical, mental, psychological and spiritual as well as moral needs and development of the child. Every child is more than a future employee, and every person's being is much more than just what he or she is at that particular stage of his or her life. During the 1970's, there was a growing movement, known as holism, seeking to describe this way of thinking.

"Our highest endeavour must be to
develop free human beings who are able
of themselves, to impart purpose
and direction to their lives.”
(Rudolf Steiner)

Holistic education is based on the principles that says each person has to find his or her identity, meaning and purpose in life through connections in the natural world, the community and spiritual values such as compassion and peace. Holistic education aims to result in people having a passion for learning, as well as having reverence for life.

There is no academic curriculum with holistic education. Normal academic curriculum focus on instructional packages, but holistic education focuses on interaction with the environment and nurtures a sense of wonder. This method also realises that what works for one person might not necessary work for another and therefore seeks to find methods and ways that work for all. There are many ways of learning to reach the goal of oneness with the universe, like Montessori said.

Holistic fosters collaboration rather than competition and teachers helps the students to feel connected to their environment, the people around them and the teacher. A great love for learning is cultivated by using real experiences, current events and real time sources of knowledge instead of textbooks, notes and lectures. Holistic education also encourages thinking about questions instead of just learning them like a parrot.

“The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility - these three forces are the very nerve of education.” Rudolf Steiner

Please refer to the section entitled “Frequently asked questions about Waldorf education”
for further information.

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