Supporting Children’s Spiritual Health in Early Childhood Education

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dc.contributor.advisor Hedges, Helen en
dc.contributor.advisor Haigh, Mavis en Batchelar, Susan en 2011-02-14T21:12:44Z en 2011-02-14T21:12:44Z en 2011 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, includes an aspiration for all children, that they grow up "healthy in mind, body, and spirit" (Ministry of Education, 1996, p. 9, emphasis added). This thesis argues that this aspiration statement places the intentional support and nurture of children's spiritual health within the professional responsibilities of early childhood teachers. The aim of this research was to discover how early childhood teachers interpret this statement, and whether they provided intentional support for children's spiritual health. This thesis describes a qualitative, interpretive study conducted in one early childhood centre in Auckland, which had a Christian philosophy. Six teachers in the centre participated. Data were gathered from a series of observations, individual interviews with teachers, a focus group interview and a review of centre documentation. Findings were analysed thematically, and are described in relation to the principles of Te Whāriki. The main finding of the study was that the teachers interpreted the aspiration statement in Te Whāriki as indicating that they should support children to become healthy in spirit. However, they did not all agree that such support should be intentional. The literature relates intentional teaching to formal content knowledge. None of the teachers in this study seemed to have any formal content knowledge about spirituality in children. Nevertheless they were all able to define "healthy in spirit", and they all believed their practice would support children's spiritual health. None of the teachers associated religious education with supporting children's spiritual health. Only two of the teachers were considered to be intentional in supporting children to grow up healthy in spirit. This intentionality was underpinned by the teachers' informal knowledge, which included their personal experience and religious beliefs, and their spiritual worldview. It was expressed through practice that reflected the teachers' formal knowledge of Te Whāriki. The other teachers were found to be intentional in implementing the curriculum. Their practice was considered appropriate to support children's spiritual dimension. However, this support was not considered to be intentional. The thesis concludes by considering the implications of these findings for teaching practice, and for providers of pre- and in-service teacher education. en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA2163103 en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Supporting Children’s Spiritual Health in Early Childhood Education en
dc.type Thesis en MEd en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: the author en
dc.identifier.wikidata Q112885647

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