As a faith-based organisation, our teams at Catholic Early EdCare respect and nurture the individual spirituality of all children within our care. We acknowledge and celebrate all faiths and religious traditions in our centres, celebrating special days throughout the year.
Underpinning our approach to helping children grow spiritually are the beliefs that we are all part of something bigger, that children are innately spiritual and that understanding their spirituality is an important part of their self-discovery and learning.
"Incorporating spirituality, faith and cultural traditions into children’s everyday activities helps them grow and develop as part of their community."
Incorporating spirituality everyday
Rather than teaching religion, or offering lessons in spirituality, our educators find ways to explore spirituality in everyday activities. This helps children to develop their own sense of spirituality, and experience it in ways that are meaningful to them.
For example, educators might choose storybooks about creation or the dreamtime, for group reading activities. This opens discussion with the children and allows them to link spiritual practices to their real and everyday life.
For children, understanding different faith traditions and how families’ experience and practice faith is important. Educators will explore a range of traditional celebrations with children, from Easter to Diwali, asking them to share with their peers how their families celebrate.
Whenever we celebrate special events and days, from Harmony Day, to ANZAC Day, Mother’s Day and many others, we always include a faith or spiritual element. On ANZAC Day, a poppy and book about the ANZACs is often placed on the prayer table, helping to stimulate discussion with the children and direct their reflections and prayer intentions. Incorporating spirituality, faith and cultural traditions into children’s everyday activities helps them grow and develop as part of their community.
A morning ritual to start the day
Many of our services have a special morning routine designed to welcome children to the day, help them settle in and to take a quiet moment for reflection.
This might involve sitting quietly in a group, sharing in an acknowledgement of country, checking in to see how everyone is feeling that day or if there are any special thoughts, they would like to share. For some this might include a quick story or a discussion about a special day that’s happening that week. This morning ritual then finishes with a prayer.
How we help children grow spiritually
Children will observe their educators living the Catholic values of care, compassion, honesty, kindness and thankfulness through their actions and the use of symbols, stories and sharing activities.
Children are given the opportunity to explore their spirituality in positive and age appropriate ways, and each service has their own unique approach. One of the most important elements of developing children’s spirituality is helping them to recognise kindness and gratitude, and to practice these traits every day. Through activities, stories, visits from the local parish and our own practice, we help children understand what it means to be a good person and spread kindness in the community.
Each service has its own prayer table with a bible and crucifix, liturgical cloth, and an Acknowledgement of Country. This is a place where children can pause to reflect and share their special thoughts and intentions. This is not only a place for prayer but for experiencing a deeper connection in each child’s own way.
Just as it’s important for children to develop their literacy, numeracy, social and fine motor skills, it’s equally important that they develop an understanding of their own spirituality. We hope they will carry this with them in to the next stages of their lives.
The early years of education and care are the foundation for every child’s future. At Catholic Early EdCare, we help your child to grow and develop spiritually every day from six weeks of age. Find out more about our services here.