Spiritual Experiences in Early Childhood Education : Four Kindergartners, One Classroom
Spirituality is frequently avoided in the public school classroom in an attempt to prevent controversy. However, by ignoring, preventing, or discounting spirituality, educators can also inhibit children’s spiritual development. Based on qualitative research and interactions with both children and adults, Jennifer Mata argues that educators should be responsible for addressing children’s spirituality in the classroom and for re-introducing these topics into early childhood education.
By surveying the existing literature on spirituality, Mata offers a working definition of spirituality as an essential characteristic of humanness, which helps connect individuals to themselves, others, and to the transcendent. The book portrays stories and descriptions of four kindergarten children in their classroom setting, exploring their different modes of expressing and experiencing spirituality. Finally, Spiritual Experiences in Early Childhood Education offers a review of pedagogical strategies to nurture spirituality, for both teachers to implement in the classroom and teacher educators to facilitate in teacher preparation programs.