Paying attention to the spiritual flourishing of young children in church toddler groups: a scoping study evaluating the feasibility of a research study in this context

Journal article


Casson, A., Woolley, M., Pittaway, Ann, Watts, Tansy, Kemp, Nicola, Bowie, B., Clemmey, Katie and Aantjes, R. 2023. Paying attention to the spiritual flourishing of young children in church toddler groups: a scoping study evaluating the feasibility of a research study in this context. Religions. 14 (2), p. 236. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020236
AuthorsCasson, A., Woolley, M., Pittaway, Ann, Watts, Tansy, Kemp, Nicola, Bowie, B., Clemmey, Katie and Aantjes, R.
AbstractAttention to the spiritual flourishing of young children contributes to their well-being, both their being and their becoming, but much-needed research in this area poses many challenges. The National Institute for Christian Education Research is undertaking a funded research project investigating the spiritual flourishing of young children in church toddler groups in England. This article reports on a scoping study which investigated the feasibility of a major research study in this area. The study was multifaceted, it involved clarifying terminology, evaluating previous research studies and early years research methods, and led to the development of a potential research framework. The article defines spiritual flourishing as a dynamic state of being, revealed in nurturing the right relationship with self, others, creation, and the transcendent. The findings propose an understanding of children’s spirituality as relational, based in the here and now, and shaped by the environment. Secondly, an exploration of midweek church toddler groups, a common feature across the denominations, through the lens of belonging, behaving, and believing reveals a potential critical contribution to young children’s spiritual flourishing or faith development. Thirdly, following an evaluation of potential effective research methods, the discussion highlights the value of an interdisciplinary study, the potential challenges and proposes a research framework. The article draws attention to the urgent need for more research to understand what contributes to young children’s spiritual flourishing within a Christian context.
KeywordsChildren; Early years; Church; Spirituality; Christianity
Year2023
JournalReligions
Journal citation14 (2), p. 236
PublisherMDPI AG
ISSN2077-1444
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020236
Official URLhttps://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/14/2/236
FunderDouglas Trust
Publication dates
Online09 Feb 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted02 Feb 2023
Deposited20 Feb 2023
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Bowie, R. A. 2018. Promoting tolerance to schools in a time of extremism. in: Panjwani, F., Revell, L., Diboll, M. and Gholami, R. (ed.) Education and Extremisms: Rethinking Liberal Pedagogies in the Contemporary World London Routledge. pp. 204-216
The attitudes and perceptions of beginning teachers in relation to teaching controversial and sensitive issues in the history classroom
Woolley, M. 2017. The attitudes and perceptions of beginning teachers in relation to teaching controversial and sensitive issues in the history classroom. Revista Electrónica Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado. 20 (2), pp. 1-18. https://doi.org/10.6018/reifop/20.2.284561
Understanding the therapeutic benefits of engagement with the natural environment within the Dandelion Time approach: a review of literature
Kemp, N. and Watts, T. 2017. Understanding the therapeutic benefits of engagement with the natural environment within the Dandelion Time approach: a review of literature. Canterbury Christ Church University.
Curriculum review of ESD at CCCU: a case study in health and wellbeing
Consorte-McCrea, A., Griggs, C. and Kemp, N. 2017. Curriculum review of ESD at CCCU: a case study in health and wellbeing. in: Leal Filho, W. (ed.) Implementing Sustainability in the Curriculum of Universities: Approaches, Methods and Projects Springer. pp. 247-262
Lessons in spiritual development: learning from leading Christian-ethos secondary schools
Casson, A., Cooling, T. and Francis, L. 2017. Lessons in spiritual development: learning from leading Christian-ethos secondary schools. London Church House Publishing.
Interpreting texts more wisely: A Review of Research and the Case for Change
Bowie, R. A. 2017. Interpreting texts more wisely: A Review of Research and the Case for Change. in: Stuart-Buttle, R. and Shortt, J. (ed.) Christian, Faith, Formation and Education Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 211-228
Is tolerance of faith helpful in English school policy? Reification, complexity and values education
Bowie, R. A. 2017. Is tolerance of faith helpful in English school policy? Reification, complexity and values education. Oxford Review of Education. 43 (5), pp. 536-549. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2017.1352350
The rise and fall of human rights in English education policy: Inescapable national interests and PREVENT
Bowie, R. A. 2017. The rise and fall of human rights in English education policy: Inescapable national interests and PREVENT. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice. 12 (2), pp. 111-122. https://doi.org/10.1177/1746197917693020
Whole Earth? Developing an early childhood education response
Bolshaw, P. and Kemp, N. 2016. Whole Earth? Developing an early childhood education response.
Whole Earth? Developing an early childhood education response
Kemp, N. and Bolshaw, P. 2016. Whole Earth? Developing an early childhood education response.
Whole Earth?: Developing an early childhood education response
Kemp, N. and Bolshaw, P. 2016. Whole Earth?: Developing an early childhood education response.
Negotiating fundamental British values: research conversations in church schools
Bowie, R. A. and Revell, L. 2016. Negotiating fundamental British values: research conversations in church schools. Canterbury Canterbury Christ Church University.
Oxford A Level Religious Studies: Christianity, philosophy and ethics
Bowie, R. A. and Ahluwalia, L. 2016. Oxford A Level Religious Studies: Christianity, philosophy and ethics. Oxford Oxford University Press.
Dignity and human rights education
Bowie, R. A. 2016. Dignity and human rights education. Oxford Peter Lang.
Stepping into sacred texts: how the Jesuits taught me to read the Bible
Bowie, R. A. 2016. Stepping into sacred texts: how the Jesuits taught me to read the Bible. in: Voss, A. and Wilson, S. (ed.) Reenchanting the Academy UK Rubedo Press.
Doing RE hermeneutically - learning to become interpreters of religion
Bowie, R. A. 2016. Doing RE hermeneutically - learning to become interpreters of religion. RE Today. 34 (1), pp. 60-62.
Inside out and upside down (Learning, Teaching and Research strand)
Vujakovic, P. and Kemp, N. 2014. Inside out and upside down (Learning, Teaching and Research strand). 18th Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges Annual Conference. Nottingham Trent University
It’s contagious! developing sustainability perspectives in academic life at a UK university
Scoffham, S. and Kemp, N. 2014. It’s contagious! developing sustainability perspectives in academic life at a UK university. in: Integrating Sustainability Thinking in Science and Engineering Curricula, Switzerland Springer. pp. 89-102
The human rights Church school: a particular school for the common good?
Bowie, R. A. 2014. The human rights Church school: a particular school for the common good?
What can education learn from recent thinking around the concept of dignity in the intersection between identity and protected groups?
Bowie, R. A. 2014. What can education learn from recent thinking around the concept of dignity in the intersection between identity and protected groups?
A preliminary report exploring the need for and development of a coherent Personal and Social Education curriculum
Maynard, T., Moss, J., Bowie, R. A., Christie, S., Bainbridge, A., Barnes, J., Blamires, M., Hassett, A., Powell, S., Robinson, S. and Canterbury Christ Church University 2013. A preliminary report exploring the need for and development of a coherent Personal and Social Education curriculum.
Post secular trends: issues of faith and education
Bowie, R. A., Peterson, A. and Revell, L. 2012. Post secular trends: issues of faith and education. Journal of Beliefs & Values: Studies in Religion & Education. 33 (2), pp. 139-141. https://doi.org/10.1080/13617672.2012.694057
Human rights education and the post secular turn
Bowie, R. A. 2012. Human rights education and the post secular turn. Journal of Beliefs & Values: Studies in Religion & Education. 33 (2), pp. 195-205. https://doi.org/10.1080/13617672.2012.694062
The primacy of dignity and human rights education
Bowie, R. A. 2011. The primacy of dignity and human rights education. PhD Thesis University of Kent / Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Education
Human rights and religion in the English secondary RE curriculum
Bowie, R. A. 2011. Human rights and religion in the English secondary RE curriculum. Journal of Beliefs & Values: Studies in Religion & Education. 32 (3), pp. 269-280. https://doi.org/10.1080/13617672.2011.627674
How green is your god?
Bowie, R. A. 2009. How green is your god?
PGCE secondary provision and the new curriculum
Bowie, R. A. 2009. PGCE secondary provision and the new curriculum.
AQA Religious Studies A2: ethics: student's book
Bowie, R. A. 2009. AQA Religious Studies A2: ethics: student's book. Cheltenham, UK Nelson Thornes.
AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Roman Catholicism: Ethics
Bowie, R. A. 2009. AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Roman Catholicism: Ethics. Cheltenham, UK Nelson Thornes.
AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Christianity: Ethics
Bowie, R. A. 2009. AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Christianity: Ethics. Cheltenham, UK Nelson Thornes.
AQA religious studies AS ethics: student's book
Bowie, R. A. 2008. AQA religious studies AS ethics: student's book. Cheltenham Nelson Thornes.
Environmental ethics
Bowie, R. A. 2008. Environmental ethics.
Thinking about ethics in RE learning
Bowie, R. A. 2007. Thinking about ethics in RE learning.
Dignity, religion, education
Bowie, R. A. 2007. Dignity, religion, education.
Getting published
Bowie, R. A. 2005. Getting published. RE-Net, Canterbury Christ Church University.
Contemporary life stances and education for sustainable development
Bowie, R. A. 2005. Contemporary life stances and education for sustainable development. Canterbury RE-Net, Canterbury Christ Church University.
Philosophy of religion and religious ethics AS/AA2 for OCR study guide
Bowie, R. A. 2004. Philosophy of religion and religious ethics AS/AA2 for OCR study guide. Cheltenham Nelson Thornes.
Ethical studies
Bowie, R. A. 2004. Ethical studies. Cheltenham Nelson Thornes.
Texts and teachers: the practice guide
Bowie, R. A. and Clemmey, K. 2000. Texts and teachers: the practice guide. Canterbury Canterbury Christ Church University.
Texts and teachers: the findings report
Bowie, R. A. 2000. Texts and teachers: the findings report. Canterbury Canterbury Christ Church University.