The Whole Child

What does it mean to teach "The Whole Child"?

As a teacher and/or parent, this means that you are supporting all of the domains of early childhood development, not just one particular area. In young children, this is especially important because at this time in the child's life, there is rapid brain and body growth. Every area (domain) of early childhood development is just as important and works together to grow a strong and solid foundation for learning. A variety of activities and lessons that include all areas of development, help to support the "Whole Child". It is important to note that all children are different and develop at different rates. Even though certain skills have specific stages and milestones, each child has their own map of development which should be considered by the teacher or parent.

Domains (areas) of Early Childhood Development:

*Cognitive: The child's ability to learn and think.
       -Academics (Math, Literacy, Arts, Sciences, Music, ect.)
       -Problem Solving
       -Using senses
       -Hand-eye coordination

*Social and Emotional: The child's awareness of themselves and others around them.
        -How a child interacts with others and navigates social situations.
        -Stages of play with others.
        -Self-control and understanding of their emotions.
        -Learning the appropriate way to express feelings.
*Language and Speech: The child's ability to understand and language and communicate with others.
        -Verbal skills (output of language)
        -Language processing skills (input of language)
        -Understanding abstract and concrete ideas.

*Motor Development: The child's ability to use the muscles in their body.
        -Gross Motor (large muscles):
            *sitting, standing, jumping, throwing, climbing, ect.
        -Fine Motor (small muscles specifically in hands and fingers):
            *holding a crayon, pinching, tearing, picking up objects, stringing beads, ect.
            *Strong fine motor skills are a pre-requisite to writing*

Early Childhood Development links:

Center on the Development Child- Harvard University

Child Development Institute

NAEYC- Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs

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