Skip main navigation

The five skills for holistic development

Discover the five skills for holistic development

Children learn through play

Learning happens right from birth. Children have an amazing natural potential to learn about the world through play. You may wonder how children build more complex, higher-order skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving.

One approach – often overlooked – is play!

The scientific community has found increasing evidence that children are constantly learning, connecting and engaging with their surroundings through positive, playful experiences.

Children’s development and learning is complex which is why we take a holistic view and high-light the importance of their physical, social, cognitive, creative and emotional skills and how these complement and interact with one another:

  • Physical skills: being physically active, understanding movement and space through practicing sensory-motor skills. Spatial understanding and nurturing an active and healthy body.

  • Social skills: collaborate, communicate and understand other people’s perspectives through sharing ideas, negotiating rules and building empathy.

  • Cognitive skills: concentration, problem solving and flexible thinking by learning to tackle complex tasks and building effective strategies to identify solutions.

  • Creative skills: coming up with ideas, expressing them and transforming them into reality by creating associations, symbolizing and representing ideas and providing meaningful experiences for others.

  • Emotional skills: understand, manage and express emotions by building self-awareness and handling impulses. Staying motivated and confident in the face of difficulties.

Drawing of the 5 skills

This article is from the free online

Learning through Play with LEGO® Braille Bricks

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education