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ERIC Number: EJ898698
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-1538-6619
Supporting Each Child's Spirit
Baumgartner, Jennifer J.; Buchanan, Teresa
Young Children, v65 n2 p90-95 Mar 2010
In using developmentally appropriate practices, teachers should intentionally address all aspects of a child's being, the spiritual along with the physical and the cognitive. Because spirituality is a vital part of human nature, a whole-child teaching approach must include the part of the child some call spirituality. Many have attempted to disentangle the spiritual, social, cognitive, moral, emotional, and psychological in children. While these aspects of development are interrelated, spirituality is more than just an aspect of development. Like all early childhood teaching, classroom practices that address spirituality should be for all children and based on values and assumptions that are respectful of family culture and beliefs. Promoting spiritual development in young children is not about imposing or teaching religious beliefs. It is about providing an environment in which children can learn not only meaningful lessons specific to subject matter (such as letters and numbers), but also social lessons that support broader learning goals, like caring for others, being part of a community, and working to create positive change. Like all developmentally appropriate classroom activities, practices that address spirituality should be grounded in learning opportunities that arise naturally during the children's day. This article describes how educators can appropriately address the spiritual aspect of young children through nondirective teaching. This approach recognizes the exploratory nature of children's learning. Researchers describe three common elements of spirituality that cross religious and cultural boundaries: (1) a sense of belonging; (2) respect for self and others; and (3) an awareness and appreciation of the unknown. In this article, these three tenets are linked to the contemporary early childhood education classroom.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101. Tel: 800-424-2460; Tel: 202-232-8777; Fax: 202-328-2649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A