Roots of Holistic Education

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What is Holistic Education?

Before we can begin discussing holistic applications of the Google Platform to education, we must first define what we mean by holistic and give som
e background information about what informs holistic practices in education. 

In the Holistic Curriculum (1996), Miller describes the psychological, philosophical and social contexts of Holistic Education. These contexts provide a background for our work around Holistic Approaches of the Google Platform in Education and are important for the reader to understand before exploring the rest of the site.

    
The Philosophical Context - The Perennial Philosophy/Holism

    Miller describes the basics of The Perennial Philosophy/Holism:
   
    -"There is an interconnectedness of reality and a fundamental unity in the universe.
    -There is an intimate connection between the individual's inner or higher self and this unity.
    -In order to see this unity, we need to cultivate intuition through contemplation and meditation.
    -Value is derived from seeing and realizing the interconnectedness of reality
    -The realization of this unity among human beings leads to social activity designed to counter          injustice and human suffering," (Miller, 1996, p. 20).

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The Psychological Context - The Transpersonal Self

 Holistic Education embraces the soul and related ideas of a higher self. This is informed by transpersonal psychology which is influenced by "mystical traditions within the major faiths," and psychologies with a spiritual element like Jungian psychology (Miller, 1996, p.35). The teaching position that correlates with this approach is the transformation position which focuses on educating for wisdom (Miller, 1996, p.35).

Ken Wilber describes developmental stages of consciousness that go beyond other theorists' work like Kohlberg and Piaget (Miller, 1996, 48). The lines of development discussed in the Whole Child Teaching section all progress through these stages. Holistic educators can use Wilber's theories to conceptualize development in transpersonal levels of consciousness.

The Social Context - An Ecological/Interdependent Perspective

The social context for holistic education focuses on the interconnectedness of humans with every other living thing in the biosphere, therefore something introduced in an areas may have an affect elsewhere (Miller, 1996, p.55).     
 
                                                                                                                            
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Miller
describes Capra's concept of "integrated, self-organizing wholes consisting of smaller parts and at the same time acting as parts of larger wholes," which Wilber refers to as holons (Miller, 1996, p. 57). An example of holons is: a molecule is a whole made up of smaller parts, atoms, but are also parts of larger wholes called cells, which are parts of organs, which make up organ systems ect. It is easy to see how understanding this holarchy (another Wilber term) helps us to view systems in a more holistic way.


Conclusion

"Ultimately, the holistic curriculum lets us realize our true nature," (Miller, 1996, p.9). The holistic curriculum acknowledges and seeks to actively engage our 'higher self,' the self that "opens to us when we hear a piece of music... or are simply present to nature," (Miller, 1996, p.9). Through its focus on developing the whole child and acknowledgement of the many areas of development that need to be nurtured, holistic education provides education that is unifying, timeless and transformational. In the pages of this site we detail applications of Holistic Education to the Google platform in education.


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