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Doctoral Dissertation

Everyday Spirituality: Supporting the Spiritual Experience of Young Children in Three Early Childhood Educational Settings

Available from: Massey University - Theses and Dissertations

Australasia, Australia and New Zealand, Child development, Comparative education, Montessori schools, New Zealand, Oceania, Spirituality, Waldorf schools

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Abstract/Notes: The focus of this research is the spiritual experience of young children in early childhood educational settings. Spirituality is included in the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki, but is a relatively unarticulated aspect of educational practice. In order to find out how spirituality is supported in early childhood educational contexts this qualitative case study research took place in three early childhood settings: a Montessori casa, a private preschool and a Steiner (Waldorf) kindergarten. The methods used in the research included participant observation, interviews and focus groups. The teachers were asked to make a video about spirituality to reflect their own context and photographs were taken in each setting. The metaphor of spiritual landscape is used in this research. In this landscape everyday experience merged with the spiritual to form the concept of everyday spirituality. The cultural theories of everyday life supported a realisation that ordinary daily activity can become wonderful and mysterious when the spiritual dimension is realised. The themes that emerged from analysis of the case studies are conceptualised as transformative aspects of learning and relationships. They are aspects of everyday spirituality identified as spiritual withness; spiritual inbetweenness; and the spiritually elsewhere. Representing spiritual experience is challenging. The thesis is written in narrative form and contains core narratives as prose and poems. Using writing as a means of discovery made communicating spirituality through the medium of words a possibility. Spirituality is proposed to be an inclusive concept that affirms a sense of connection and this thesis found that all pedagogical practices in early childhood settings have the potential to include a spiritual aspect. In Aotearoa New Zealand many children lead their everyday lives in the context of an early childhood environment that includes teachers and parents as part of that community. This thesis argues that when everyday spirituality permeates early childhood contexts that all aspects of the curriculum are realised and the spiritual experience of everyone connected to that setting is supported.

Language: English

Published: Palmerston North, New Zealand, 2007

Article

Montessori Spirituality Part Two: Spirituality Made Visible [Part 2 of 3]

Publication: Public School Montessorian, vol. 20, no. 4

Pages: 23-25

Spirituality

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Language: English

Article

Everyday Spirituality: An Aspect of the Holistic Curriculum in Action

Available from: SAGE Journals

Publication: Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, vol. 8, no. 4

Pages: 344-354

Australasia, Australia and New Zealand, Indigenous communities, New Zealand, New Zealand, Oceania, Spirituality

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Abstract/Notes: Early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand includes different philosophical perspectives, may be part of the public or private sector and aims to be inclusive and holistic. The early childhood curriculum, Te Whariki, supports these aims. Aspects of the curriculum that are holistic may be conceptualized in diverse ways and this qualitative research focused on the spiritual. Case studies were constructed in three different settings: a Montessori casa, a private preschool and a Rudolf Steiner kindergarten. This article concerns one of these settings and discusses the first day back at the Montessori casa after a two-week break. The concept of everyday spirituality is introduced and three narratives retell moments of everyday spirituality that occurred throughout the day. Three themes are addressed in some detail. The discussion is informed by Derrida's notion of hospitality and by different perspectives about the role of spirituality in educational contexts.

Language: English

DOI: 10.2304/ciec.2007.8.4.344

ISSN: 1463-9491

Book Section

Narratives of Everyday Spirituality: Pedagogical Perspectives from Three Early Childhood Settings in Aotearoa New Zealand

Available from: Springer Link

Book Title: International Handbook of Education for Spirituality, Care and Wellbeing

Pages: 873-890

Australasia, Australia and New Zealand, New Zealand, Oceania, Spirituality

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Abstract/Notes: Early childhood settings in Aotearoa New Zealand are informed by an internationally recognised curriculum, Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996). This whāriki, or woven mat, includes references to the spiritual; the principle of kotahitanga/holistic development intersects with the strand of mana atua/wellbeing. Qualitative case study research in a Montessori casa, a private preschool, and a Steiner kindergarten found the concept “everyday spirituality” illuminating. Three themes were identified: spiritual withness, spiritual in-betweeness and spiritual elsewhere. These relational spaces are proposed as a way of reconceptualising holistic approaches to pedagogy and wellbeing in early childhood educational contexts.

Language: English

Published: Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4020-9018-9

Series: International Handbooks of Religion and Education

Article

Adult Leadership and the Development of Children’s Spirituality: Exploring Montessori’s Concept of the Prepared Environment

Available from: Taylor and Francis Online

Publication: International Journal of Children's Spirituality, vol. 24, no. 4

Pages: 356-370

Maria Montessori - Philosophy, Montessori method of education - Criticism, interpretation, etc., Spirituality

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Abstract/Notes: This article explores Montessori’s concept of the Prepared Environment, which includes adult leadership, as an important contribution to the field of Children’s Spirituality. Montessori elevated the spiritual development of children to a central place in social life. She advocated preparation of the teacher as a community leader who works through the environment to guide a pedagogically-oriented process that underpins spiritual development. This model of leadership offers the child a reciprocal relationship with the Prepared Environment, which operates as the child’s true teacher. The preparation of the adult, as an element of the Prepared Environment, has a spiritual tone and is a key aspect of Montessori science and philosophy, designed to support the holistic development of the child as both a hope and a promise for human beings.

Language: English

DOI: 10.1080/1364436X.2019.1685949

ISSN: 1364-436X

Article

Becoming a Strong Montessori Team Through Spirituality

Available from: ProQuest

Publication: Montessori Life, vol. 31, no. 2

Pages: 42-49

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Abstract/Notes: Spirituality and religion can also have overlap (Tisdell, 2008). Since many people grew up in a particular religion, it became part of the foundation of their lives, whether or not they still practice the religion as an adult. Present in the teachers' actions were meaning and purpose, facets of spirituality. [...]they were developing spiritual qualities that facilitated the implementation of the Montessori Method as Montessori recommended (Wolf, 1996, 2017). [...]Sierra touched on supporting the child's "sense of freedom" and working "to have a deeper understanding of the whole child." [...]whatever word they spoke, and whatever action they took, they were cognizant that the children were observing.

Language: English

ISSN: 1054-0040

Article

Spirituality and Young Children

Publication: Montessori International, vol. 10, no. 6

Pages: 14–15

Child development, Children, Maturation (Psychology), Spirituality

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Language: English

Article

Spirituality

Publication: Montessori International, vol. 10, no. 6

Pages: 20–21

Spirituality

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Language: English

Article

Reflections on Spirituality: Part 1: The Philosophy [Part 1 of 3]

Available from: University of Connecticut Libraries - American Montessori Society Records

Publication: Public School Montessorian, vol. 20, no. 3

Pages: 19, 31

Spirituality

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Language: English

Article

Spirituality in Montessori

Publication: Tomorrow's Child, vol. 8, no. 2

Pages: 13

Maria Montessori - Philosophy, Montessori method of education, Spirituality

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Language: English

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