A Holistic Approach to Educating Modern-Day Children (An Interview with SIS Cilegon Head Teacher Daisy Castro)
In his list of habits of highly effective people, Stephen Covey put synergy as his sixth. What does it mean? He said, “Synergy is the habit of creative cooperation.” It is the recognition that the whole is, and will always be, greater than the sum of its parts. To further simplify it, two heads are better than one.
Synergy is one of the underlying concepts of holistic education, and it explains why this approach creates some of the most successful people in the world – a concept that SIS Cilegon Head Teacher Daisy Castro deeply believes in.
When one speaks of education and school, intelligence and academics are the norms. As proof, schools measure their students based on their grade-point averages or performances in examinations. For many schools, grades determine whether children can still proceed to the next level. Those with the highest scores in math, science, or reading receive the reward of a medal or the chance to compete with the other students.
Holistic education is about improving not only the brains but also the heart and soul of a child. The purpose is not to place knowledge behind all other aspects of a person but instead recognise that the identity of a person is different from the others. Filipina Teacher Daisy, whose working mantra for more than two decades in the teaching profession is that “learning has to be seriously fun,” believes so too.
While Daisy believes in the importance of establishing a strong academic foundation for her students, she puts high emphasis on the need to inculcate moral values to encourage a more holistic development for every child. A holistic way of teaching or educating is essential in all generations, but it’s never been more necessary than today.
For Daisy, a holistic education cultivates and promotes a better self-identity. Children who don’t know themselves well are prone to two pressing issues: bullying and poor self-image. Many research programs have shown a deep connection between these and the risk of depression among children and adolescents. They may also be prone to developing eating disorders and other health risks.
“Children have the rest of their lives to figure out who they are, but when they already have a strong core, they are less likely to believe other people’s perception of them. They are confident, and they have the tools to defend themselves from any form of aggression,” Daisy explained.
Moreover, holistic education grows creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking. The reality of life is this: theories can only get someone so far. What matters most is the depth of understanding that a person has about them and apply what they’ve learned in their daily lives.
Daisy added that “holistic education doesn’t limit the students to books and the four walls of their classrooms, they play music and sports, they engage in debates or complete science projects, [We] allow them to express themselves, ask questions, and formulate their solutions. When they have these values, they learn to become innovators, inventors, and strategic leaders of the future.”
A holistic approach to education creates not only intelligent kids, it produces individuals ready to take the lead. These are people who are unafraid, persuasive, analytical, yet loving, caring, and nurturing. These are individuals who measure success not just by the money they earn but the happiness, purpose, and satisfaction they enjoy.
“This is what I’m hoping my students will turn out to be someday”, the Filipina teacher stated with a happy, cheerful smile.