Reflections on the Role of Spirituality in How Young Children’s Identities Are Constructed


Chapter in book

Supporting children and youth through spiritual education

This chapter explores how young children’s identities are constructed and how this is linked to spiritual growth as one dimension of the education of the whole child. The concepts of identity and culture are discussed. Identities are seen as constantly changing narratives involving non-linear and uneven processes, especially socialization. The influence, especially on self-esteem, of intersecting socio-cultural factors, notably gender, ethnicity/race, class and religion, and of consumerism is considered. Recognizing that spirituality defies exact description, an inclusive understanding is presented which sees spiritual growth as a process of searching for meaning, identity, purpose, and connectedness. This involves considering existential, often difficult, questions and becoming more connected to other people, the world around, and (for some) a transcendent being. Qualities such as resilience and reflectiveness and a sense of agency and belonging are emphasized, as are caring environments, trusting relationships, interdependence, adults being attuned to children and time and space.


Photo of Tony Eaude

Dr Tony Eaude

Executive Committee Member

IGI Global