Spirituality and child protection in early childhood education: A strengths approach

Jane Bone, Angela Fenton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In recent international and Australian early childhood curriculum guidelines and child-protection policies, the need for teachers of young children to foster spirituality has been highlighted. However, what this might mean in practice has not been widely explored. This article addresses the more controversial issue of spiritual abuse and the right of children to protection in terms of spiritual development. We present a critique of current definitions taken from research and policy documents. Qualitative data provide the research background. Vignettes are presented to give examples of what spiritual harm might look like in practice. Finally, a strengths-based approach is introduced and strategies are suggested in order to explore the potential of the Strengths Approach (a social justice approach originating from social service practice) to aid early years’ teachers to create spiritually protective learning environments. This approach recognises and values children’s holistic development and wellbeing and supports them to appreciate, engage with and question the world around them with a resilient spirit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-99
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Children's Spirituality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


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