Advertisement

Spiritual Meditations

Being in the Early Years
  • D. MirkovicEmail author
  • B. Pytka
  • S. Jagger
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)

Abstract

Western education systems typically place significance on the development of the whole child; however, the spiritual domain of development is often neglected due to the belief that religion and spirituality are synonymous notions. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the varying understandings and ideas of spirituality in an attempt to illustrate its significance and possibilities within the early years. This piece does not attempt to isolate a single definition of spirituality but rather recognizes spirituality as a way of being and focuses on meditating ideas of what spirituality can be in various contexts of the early years. Through the exploration of current literature and application of relevant narratives, this piece emphasizes the avoidance of spirituality within educational settings and the common characteristics or foundations of spirituality. Finally, the chapter will offer practice implications that can support educators in welcoming spirituality into the classroom environment.

Keywords

Spirituality Early years Spiritual development Whole child Pedagogy 

References

  1. Adams, K., Bull, R., & Maynes, M. (2016). Early childhood spirituality in education: Towards an understanding of the distinctive features of young children’s spirituality. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 24(5), 760–774.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1350293X.2014.996425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alvermann, D. E. (2015). Being in the moment: Implications for teaching and young people’s digital literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(8), 625–631.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jaal.415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ashley, P. (2007). Toward an understanding and definition of wilderness spirituality. Australian Geographer, 38(1), 53–69.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00049180601175865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Binder, M. J. (2011). ‘I saw the universe and I saw the world’: Exploring spiritual literacy with young children in a primary classroom. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 16(1), 19–35.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436X.2010.542132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Binder, M., & Kotsopoulos, S. (2011). Multimodal literacy narratives: Weaving the threads of young children’s identity through the arts. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 25(4), 339–363.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02568543.2011.606762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bone, J. (2008). Creating relational spaces: Everyday spirituality in early childhood settings. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 16(3), 343–356.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13502930802292122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bone, J. (2010). Metamorphosis: Play, spirituality and the animal. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 11(4), 402–414.  https://doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2010.11.4.402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boyce, M., & Sawang, S. (2014). Unpacking the role of mindfulness in conscientiousness and spirituality. Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, 10, 1–21. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/docview/1649029346?accountid=13631
  9. Boynton, H. M. (2011). Children’s spirituality: Epistemology and theory from various helping professions. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 16(2), 109–127.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436X.2011.580727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2008). British Columbia early learning framework. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/early-learning-framework
  11. Cook, C. C. H., Powell, A., Sims, A., & Eagger, S. (2011). Spirituality and secularity: Professional boundaries in psychiatry. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 14(1), 35–42.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13674676.2010.484935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dallaire, M. (2011). Teaching with the wind: Spirituality in Canadian education. Lanham: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  13. de Souza, M. (2012). Connectedness and connectedness: The dark side of spirituality – Implications for education. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 17(4), 291–303.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436X.2012.752346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Einarsdottir, J., Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2009). Making meaning: Children’s perspectives expressed through drawings. Early Child Development and Care, 179(2), 217–232.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430802666999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ephgrave, A. (2018). Planning in the moment with young children: A practical guide for early years practitioners and parents. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fraser, D., & Grootenboer, P. (2004). Nurturing spirituality in secular classrooms. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 9(3), 307–320.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436042000292211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goodliff, G. (2013). Spirituality expressed in creative learning: Young children’s imagining play as space for mediating their spirituality. Early Child Development and Care, 183(8), 1054–1071.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2013.792253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grabbe, L., Nguy, S. T., & Higgins, M. K. (2012). Spirituality development for homeless youth: A mindfulness meditation feasibility pilot. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(6), 925–937.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-011-9552-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harris, K. I. (2007). Re-conceptualizing spirituality in the light of educating young children. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 12(3), 263–275.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13644360701714936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harris, K. I. (2015). Children’s spirituality and inclusion: Strengthening a child’s spirit with community, resilience and joy. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 20(3–4), 161–177.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436X.2015.1086728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hodder, J. (2007). Young people and spirituality: The need for a spiritual foundation for Australian schooling. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 12(2), 179–190.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13644360701469812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Holder, M. D., Coleman, B., Krupa, T., & Krupa, E. (2016). Well-being’s relation to religiosity and spirituality in children and adolescents in Zambia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 17(3), 1235–1253.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-015-9640-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hyland, T. (2017). McDonaldizing spirituality: Mindfulness, education, and consumerism. Journal of Transformative Education, 15(4), 334–356.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1541344617696972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Koller, D., Pouesard, M. L., & Rummens, J. A. (2018). Defining social inclusion for children with disabilities: A critical literature review. Children & Society, 32(1), 1–13.  https://doi.org/10.1111/chso.12223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. London, B. (2012). Strengthening students connection to nature: A spiritual perspective. In R. Oxford & J. Lin (Eds.), Transformative eco-education for human and planetary survival (pp. 349–362). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  26. Mercer, J. A. (2006). Children as mystics, activists, sages, and holy fools: Understanding the spirituality of children and its significance for clinical work. Pastoral Psychology, 54(5), 497–515.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11089-005-0013-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Miller, J. P. (2010). Bronson Alcott: Pioneer in spiritual education. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 15(2), 129–141.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436X.2010.497646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Miller, J. P. (2016). Equinox: Portrait of a holistic school. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 21(3–4), 283–301.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1364436X.2016.1232243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ontario Ministry of Education. (2014). How does learning happen? Ontario’s pedagogy for the early years. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/HowLearningHappens.pdf
  30. Ontario Ministry of Education. (2016). Deepening our understanding of well-being in Ontario schools and how to support it in kindergarten to grade 12. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/about/wellbeingpdfs_nov2016e/wellbeing_engagement_e.pdf
  31. Punch, S. (2002). Research with children: The same or different from research with adults? Childhood, 9(3), 321–341.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568202009003045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sagberg, S. (2008). Children’s spirituality with particular reference to a Norwegian context: Some hermeneutical reflections. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 13(4), 355–370.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13644360802439516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sheldrake, P. (2012). Spirituality: A very short introduction. London: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sifers, S. K., Warren, J. S., & Jackson, Y. (2012). Measuring spirituality in children. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 31(3), 205–310. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.lib.ryerson.ca/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=rpu_main&id=GALE%7CA342175854&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon
  35. United Nations General Assembly. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. Geneva: UN.Google Scholar
  36. Walters, D. A. (2008). Grief and loss: Towards an existential phenomenology of child spirituality. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 13(3), 277–286.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13644360802236599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wein, S. (2014). Spirituality – The psyche or the soul? Palliative & Supportive Care, 12(2), 91–94.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S1478951514000303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zhang, K. C. (2013). Fostering the inner life of children with special needs: A spiritual approach. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 60(3), 242–252.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1034912X.2013.812190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.York UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.The University of Guelph-HumberTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Ryerson UniversityTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations