Education and Spiritual Development of Children 'Literature Review' chapter

Excerpt from 'Literature Review' chapter :

Spiritual Development of Children and Education

Ruth Wilson (2010) in the work entitled "The Spiritual Life of Children" writes that there is an expanding body of evidence which "indicates that children have spiritual capacities and experiences which shape their lives in powerful and enduring ways." (p. 24) Included in these capacities and experiences are those of: (1) wonder; (2) wondering; (3)relational spirituality; and (4) wisdom. (p. 24) It is suggested in the theories relating to development of cognition that young children do not have the necessary "intellectual capacity for meaningful reflection and thus cannot have a genuine spiritual life." (Wilson, 2010, p. 24)

In countries such as England, Australia, the United States and New Zealand there is a growth in the interest of ensuring that "spirituality is addressed within the curriculum of both primary and secondary education in both state and church related settings." (Hyde, 2008, p. 16)The National Curriculum Council and the Office for Standards in Education both relate in their handbooks that the curriculum should contribute to the student's spiritual development. The focus of the spiritual dimension in the United States has been on the idea of "holistic development" (Hyde, 2008, p. 16) and as such education is "envisaged not just in terms of a transmission of knowledge but is also inclusive of other non-cognitive dimensions of learning." (Hyde, 2008, p. 16) Where the focus in Australia and New Zealand is related to the child's well being and resilience.

Richardson (2010) notes that presently in education the spiritual development of the child is practically ignored. However, related is a private school known as the Village located in Royalston, Massachusetts which is attended by children ranging in ages from 4 to 12 years of age. Richardson states that as educators the spiritual development of children should be such that keeps the "door open to the spiritual nature of children" and that provides the child's spiritual nature nourishment so that it has the opportunity to develop. Richardson states that spirituality cannot be 'taught' to children per se but that spiritual education should be made available.

Myers (nd) reports a study that analyzed the extent "to which faith-based preschools promote spiritual development in preschoolers" and states recommendations that include the following:

(1) Christian colleges and seminaries offer courses in children's spirituality for those in leadership in faith-based organizations and churches.

(2) Professional organizations such as ACSI and NAEYC provide conference sessions in children's spirituality that relate to all program practices that promote children's spiritual development.

(3) Christian publishing companies such as LifeWay, Group, Standard Publishing, etc., provide sessions in children's spirituality in their curriculum training conferences; and (4) Individual preschool program make training opportunities on children's spirituality a part of their in-service education on a regular basis.

The work of Grajczonek (2010) reports that there is no way to "articulate either a clear singular definition for spirituality or the nature of spirituality's relationship with religion or religiosity as many describe both aspects in a variety of ways" however it is reported that there are two primary implications in regards to designing the framework of religious education that can be gained from the literature: (1)…

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