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Welcome to the Website of the International Association for Children's Spirituality

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The International Association for Children’s Spirituality seeks to promote and support research and practice in relation to children’s spirituality within education and wider contexts of children’s care and wellbeing.

The Association understands spirituality broadly and inclusively as having relation to the religious and beyond the religious. We encourage holistic approaches to children’s spirituality and personal development across a variety of disciplines, professions, organisations and communities.

Our methods of working are based on a set of values and aims which can be read here.

The IACS supports the International Conferences on Children’s Spirituality and is planning a on line symposium called ‘Children’s Spirituality: Keeping the Conversation Going’ on 22/23 and 26/27 July 2021.

The 2021 symposium will focus on the work of participants and the future of research and practices in children’s spirituality, exploring questions such as how does our work address the diverse realities of children’s lives and how can we continue to draw attention to the spiritual needs of children around the world? Live sessions will be scheduled at various times across four days to maximize opportunities for participation from wherever participants are located. Join with other researchers and practitioners who are committed to keeping the conversation about children’s spirituality going. You need not be a member of the IACS to participate. All with an interest in children’s spirituality are welcome and there is no charge for taking part.

The symposium will consist of a series of scholarly and practical conversations. Participants are invited to share briefly about their research or practices re: children’s spirituality through short papers or pre-recorded presentations that will be posted in advance and then discussed in live Zoom panel conversations.

If you wish to present you will need to present a proposal by 15 May 2021 (via email to IACS@RealKidsRealFaith.org) a 250-word abstract, including 3-4 key words, that summarizes your research interests and/or the current academic project or practice model you wish to share. Papers and presentations that reflect the view of young people are particularly encouraged and practical demonstrations of teaching and learning models are welcome. Please indicate whether you anticipate providing a 1200-1300 word paper or a 15-20 minute maximum audio or video recording (due 30 June 2021) and include a copy of the General Registration form with your proposal submission. Decisions about acceptance of proposals will be sent via email by 31 May 2021.

You need not provide a paper or presentation. If you prefer to read/listen/watch the submitted work and then join in the live Zoom discussions, send your completed registration form to IACS@RealKidsRealFaith.org by 15 July 2021. The registration form is available on https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Bj_n_u2hxEuCMOZwDI9CwNPeGJq23fE2/view?usp=sharing. We will send you a schedule of events and a Zoom link prior to the first day of the symposium.

For more information, please contact IACS Chair Karen-Marie Yust at kmyust@gmail.com.

IACS Symposium 2020

On 28-30 July 2020, our International Children’s Spirituality Symposium did not take place in the UK at Liverpool Hope University due to the global COVID-19 virus.Our Annual General Meeting took place virtually on Zoom on July 29th, 2020.

IACS Conference 2018

The 16th International Conference on Children’s Spirituality – Questioning relationships between children’s spirituality and traditions – hosted by Prof. Elaine Champagne, took place at Laval University, Québec city, Canada, from Tuesday 24 July – Friday 27 July 2018. The conference interested practitioners and researchers coming from a diversity of disciplinary, cultural, and professional backgrounds who are concerned with the spiritual well-being and development of children and young adults, from 0 to 20 years old. You will find all relevant information for the conference by following this link: https://www.chaire-spiritualites.ulaval.ca/dialoguer-et-diffuser/colloques-et-congres-2/iacs-conference-2018/. We enjoyed seeing you in Quebec City in July 2018!

IACS Conference 2016

The 15th International Conference on Children’s Spirituality – Spirituality and the whole child: interdisciplinary approaches, hosted by Dr Kate Adams, took place at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, from Tuesday 26 July – Friday 29 July 2016.

Over seventy participants from thirteen countries explored children’s spirituality from a range of perspectives. The conference provided a forum for those engaged in education, social work, health care, counselling, psychology, chaplaincy, practical theology, the arts, humanities and anthropology amongst others to share their latest research and practice. The conference explored the ways in which spirituality is conceived in and across cultures, and how more connections between different disciplines could be made to advance understanding of this important element of children’s lives.

International keynote speakers included:

  • John (Jack) Miller, University of Toronto, Canada
    Equinox Holistic Alternative School: an integrated approach to learning
  • Joyce Ann Mercer, PhD., LCSW, Professor of Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, Yale Divinity School, USA
    Restorative Spirituality: hope for traumatized children
  • Jacqueline Watson, PhD., Visiting Fellow, University of Exeter and University of East Anglia, UK
    Every Child Still Matters: interdisciplinary approaches to the spirituality of the child

Engaging with us

We now have an online presence in two areas: Facebook and Twitter.

If you are active on Facebook, please check out our page and ‘like’ it. The page is: https://www.facebook.com/associationforchildrensspirituality.

Our Twitter page is: https://twitter.com/ChildSpirit1. Our handle is ChildSpirit1! Feel free to tweet us and say hello.

Members’ area

The members area is a secure space in which members can suggest discussion topics, share ideas and invite others to participate in projects concerning children’s spirituality. Photographs and PowerPoint presentations of past conferences as well as all newsletters are available here.


If you would like a link to your site from here please contact kate.posey@gmail.com.

The International Journal of Children's Spirituality


For 23 years, the IJCS was the journal of the IACS. Aiming to provide an international and multi-cultural forum for those involved in research and the development of children’s and young people’s spirituality the journal considers what is meant by ‘spirituality’ and its relevance for schooling and society.

The IACS is no longer formally associated with IJCS. Please see the journal page for more information about the IJCS.

Join the International Association for Children's Spirituality

Membership of the International Association for Children’s Spirituality is free for 2020 and runs from 1st January. Benefits include:

  • access to an international network of scholars from different disciplines with interest and expertise in children’s spirituality;
  • the chance to raise issues, discuss ideas or raise queries related to practice or plans and projects for future research, projects or publications with other members;
  • the chance to post information about your research (actual or proposed), projects and consultancies on the website.

If you wish to join please visit our membership page.


Dutch Children’s Spirituality Conference 2020

On January 24th 2020, a Dutch Children’s Spirituality Conference took place (‘Dag van de Kinderspiritualiteit’) in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Sixty people took part in this one-day conference on children and spirituality. This year’s theme was ‘Different Worlds’. The event was organised by Oblimon, in close co-operation with the HAN teacher training college (Arnhem & Nijmegen University of Applied Sciences). This year’s theme was ‘Different Worlds’. Spirituality is about connections people feel with that which transcends them, and an awareness of things that escape everyday perception. For children, these experiences can take forms that differ to those of adults. Also, for young children there isn’t a clear division between the ‘ordinary’ and the transcendent, the spiritual and the imaginary, like there is for most adults. In a way, children and adults live in different worlds. How can we take children’s experiences seriously, even when we may not understand them? And what can adults do to help children move into adulthood without losing their connections with the spiritual? Dr. Kate Adams introduced this theme in a talk, followed by group discussions and two rounds of six workshops. Most workshops were in Dutch, some bilingual.Contact us at info@oblimon.nl. Please see attached flyer for more information!

Marian de Souza has now stepped down as Chair of the Association. Kate Adams (UK) and Karen Marie-Yust (USA) have been voted in as co-chairs. The main benefit of this will be international coverage and collaboration, in this case between USA and UK.

It was also proposed and voted on that the role of communications secretary and web manager be merged into one role, to avoid overlap. All communications and website questions should be addressed to kate.posey@gmail.com.

Click on images to enlarge:

For membership issues please contact Karen-Marie Yust; for Website, Facebook, and communication matters issues please contact Katie Posey. All contact details can be found in ‘Contact us’.




The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have always had a deep interest and engagement with education, drawing on their fundamental testimony that all have ‘that of God’ within them and therefore all children should be of equal value in education. Now, in conjunction with the University of Birmingham, Woodbrooke Study Centre is offering research degrees in this area of education, Quaker Values in Education. This research pathway is suitable for those interested in Quaker values in education: truth, justice, equality, simplicity, care, peace and sustainability and how these are, or can be, enacted in educational practices. Possible research methods include:

  • action research to develop their own teaching or other educational roles
  • ethnography to illuminate existing practice
  • curriculum study and design to identify embedding values in learning and knowledge

For further information about part-time and full-time routes, fees, etc. please go to https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/pages/research-degrees.html