Holistic Education Options for Kids October 14 2011

Formal education is an extremely important, if not vital, rite of passage in every child’s life. While learning is a life-long

[caption id="attachment_7817" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo by Jesse Gardner"][/caption]

process, the years spent in formal education programs have a lasting impact on our throughout our lives, oftentimes determining the quality of our relationships, our work, and our sense of self-fulfillment. But formal education, or at least traditional education models, don’t always leave everything with a positive lasting impression.

Individual Needs

Fortunately, there is hope for individual who’ve had trouble finding success within the rigid confines of traditional formal educational institutions in the shape of a newer model. Holistic education programs have been developed to overcome the very barriers that more traditional systems could not overcome. Holistic programs do a better job of taking into account the individual eccentricities of each student – providing them with a custom-tailored approach to learning that tends to provide better results for students who’ve had trouble learning under traditional systems.

Students who feel left behind by traditional approaches at public schools, where virtually every child is treated equally, may find success in holistic learning programs. For example, children who are visual learners, but have trouble with auditory learning, can be taught via nontraditional means, using graphics and other visual cues to present the same information that a traditional school would offer via auditory means, allowing the student to take in information in a way that works better for their unique situation.

Bigger Picture

But holistic programs don’t only assess learning idiosyncrasies- many of them take a bigger picture approach to education, looking at it as only one of the many important elements of a student’s life. Accordingly, many holistic programs integrate outdoor adventure learning classes and other nontraditional activities (like strong musical programs, artistic courses, financial classes and more) into their overall program, aimed at equipping their students with more than just academic knowledge.

A great example of a holistic approach to an every day learning situation would be teaching a student about the biology of a flower. Rather than simply forcing the student to read about the flower in a dry textbook, then demonstrate the knowledge they’ve accumulated by taking a test, holistic programs might present a basic textbook introduction to the flower, followed by a hike through the flower’s natural environment. The teacher could point out the flower of interest, pluck a couple of them, and bring them back into the classroom for further inspection, providing some real-world context to the academic information gleaned from the textbook.

Such a hands-on approach resonates better with many students who’ve experienced learning troubles in traditional classrooms by providing an activity of interest, a real-life example and hands on experience that allows the student to integrate the material into their actual every-day life, and a more interesting approach to learning about a subject matter that for most kids, never gets experienced beyond the bounds of a book.