Holistic development is a process of self-actualization and learning that combines an individual's mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual growth. The term can be used to describe forms of alternative education that are based on the more humanistic and democratic outlooks. Its premise is that an individual finds purpose and meaning in life through connections to the natural world, the community and through humanitarian values.
The holistic viewpoint is based on the premise that a system as a whole will determine how its individual components act. As a development method, it attempts to integrate and encompass multiple layers of experience and meaning rather than placing a narrow focus on an individual's potential and possibilities. The holistic approach to learning is a transformation of one's frames of reference, rather than a system based on transmission and transaction. Connections are emphasized as an alternative to the fragmentation of learning into its individual components and subject fields.