2 – Child Development Mandala Application

Contributor: Ellen E. Swanson
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Typical child development models provide information about common stages for all children based on ages.  The mandala as a child development record is meant to be more encompassing, providing information about them as individuals as well as their relationships to the family and cultural contexts in which they live.

Children play! So let’s enter their world and play with using the mandala as a child development record. Zoe was 18 months and Noah was 8 years old at the time these mandalas were completed by their Mom. A psychologist suggested that this would be a great child development record if done every 6 months up to age 6, and annually thereafter. Perhaps this could also be a useful tool in pediatric health care and nursing education.

© 2011 Ellen Swanson: Noah age 8 years. Used by permission.

Download Noah’s PDF 


© 2011 Ellen Swanson: Zoe age 18 months. Used by permission.

Download Zoe’s PDF

Apply the following ring definitions as you get to know Zoe and Noah from these mandalas.

  • Ring 1: What are the sources or resources that energize the child? What is he or she drawn to explore the most? A toy, a game, a hobby, a concept, a pet, a place, a book, etc.?
  • Ring 2: What did the child seem to learn from each of the listed sources? Did he or she attempt to teach a sibling or peer something from that source of energy? If so, what?
  • Ring 3: Describe the body, mind, and spirit of the child at this time.
  • Ring 4: What seems most important to the child in each of the life aspects?
  • Center: As a variation for this application, the center might be used for a photo of the child.

Perhaps the process of creating periodical circular mandalas would help expand the child’s concept of the self beyond a hierarchical viewpoint early enough in life to make the nonhierarchical more ingrained. It could help the child make a grounded exploration of him or herself at any age or stage of development.

Living 1000 miles away from Noah and Zoe, I don’t get to see them often. When I got these mandalas from their Mom, I felt like I knew them better than pictures only could convey. It seems like this could bring the old baby book of yore into the current century.

The holistic nursing theory concept of transpersonal connection, connecting with another at a deeper level than the typical biological and ego states, is evidenced here.

A psychologist who worked with adults used the mandala in her practice. She reported one client wanted to focus on seven skills, and another wanted to focus on seven wounds.

What would you focus on for you?

Holistic nursing concepts source:

Frisch, N. (2013).  Nursing theory in holistic nursing practice.  In B. Dossey & L. Keegan (Eds.) Holistic nursing a handbook for practice, 6th Ed.  (pp. 117-128).  Burlington, MA:  Jones and Bartlett Learning.