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The Spirit of the Child

The Spirit of the Child

David Hay


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Spirituality is increasingly acknowledged to be an essential part of child development. David Hay argues for the inclusion of spiritual awareness as a cross-curricular element in the school syllabus to promote the development of morality and social cohesion.

While culturally constructed pressures and the decline in institutional religion have led to the suppression of spiritual expression, children are, the author maintains, capable of profound and meaningful beliefs from an early age. A three-year research study into young children's spirituality and its survival value informs Hay's view that spirituality in education needs to overcome traditional approaches and should adopt a theory of spirituality that includes religion but is not confined to it.

This stimulating book will encourage educators, parents and others involved in teaching children to consider new approaches to foster children's natural spiritual development.

David Hay is a zoologist and Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Divinity and Religious Studies at the University of Aberdeen. For the past 11 years he has also been a visiting professor at the Institute for the Study of Religion at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. David was formerly Reader in Spiritual Education at the University of Nottingham, where he directed the Children's Spirituality Project. He is also a former director of the Alister Hardy Research Centre in Oxford. Rebecca Nye is a child psychologist and a member of staff in the faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University.
The Spirit of the Child is a ground-breaking book providing a theoretical and practical text that attempts to offset the dearth of research and literature relating to children's spiritual experiences. Contrary to the increasingly prevalent view that religion is out of date and out of touch, this broader consideration of spirituality could be a valuable tool for developing young people's understanding issues of social injustice and the dynamics of becoming disenfranchized from society. This is an excellent publication that should be key reading for everyone in our education community.
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