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What is Holistic Education?

Holistic education is concerned with the development of a person’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative and spiritual potentials.


“Holistic education is a philosophy of education based on the premise that each person find identity, meaning, and purpose in life through connections to the community, to the natural world, and to humanitarian values such as compassion and peace. Holistic education aims to call forth from people an intrinsic reverence for life and a passionate love of learning.”

— Ron Miller- Pioneer in Holistic Education

"Holistic educators feel that schools must be places where the relationships we want as adults exist for the student as much as possible—where open, honest, and respectful communication is the norm; where differences between people are appreciated; where interaction is based on mutual support and not competition of hierarchy, and where the decision making process (if not engaged in by everyone at some level) is at least accepted by everyone." — Scott H. Forbes, Author of 'Holistic Education'


Common elements of holistic educations include:

  • Multi-age classrooms or studios

  • Experiential, hands-on learning

  • Opportunities to connect with nature

  • Focus on Relationships, Responsibility, and Reverence for all life

  • Child-lead, emergent curriculum

  • Culture of respect

  • Teachers as friends or mentors rather than authority figures

  • Inclusive of all abilities and gifts, inspiring individual passions

    • “There are no deficits in learners- just differences.”


Well-known approaches to holistic education include:

  • Waldorf

  • Montessori

  • Reggio Emilia

  • Sudbury

Note: We have articles about holistic education linked on our homepage!


Welcome to

The Ashlar Way

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