But first, spirituality: Spirituality and religious education in Western Australian catholic early learning contexts
But first, spirituality: Spirituality and religious education in Western Australian catholic early learning contexts.
Religions, 14 (2).
In Western Australia (WA), Religious Education (RE) is a mandated learning area within the compulsory years of the Catholic school sector. RE is advocated as a curriculum subject, timetabled for and assessed alongside other subjects and focussed on developing religious knowledge and understanding. In addition to the RE lesson, faith development, or catechesis occurs through the intersection of RE and other faith-based activities in the Catholic school. In the early learning centre that caters for children prior to compulsory schooling, there is no formalised RE curriculum and educators are tasked with raising the religious awareness of children as opportunities arise. This paper presents findings from research that explored educators’ understandings of, and practices in, promoting children’s spirituality specifically in connection to RE. As a result, the paper advocates for spirituality as the starting point for developing young children’s religious beliefs. In addition, it become evident through this investigation that understandings of spirituality, religiosity and RE continue to be complex and educators require assistance to disentangle these if they are to intentionally promote children’s spirituality, and subsequently, their religious beliefs.
spirituality, religious education, early learning, faith-based schools, early childhood and care