Children are influenced by the environment that they are subjected to. It is the responsibility of practitioners and other adults who are in contact with children to ensure that they are presented with positive ideas and images in order to support their moral and spiritual development.
A child’s spiritual development includes the development of their sense of self, their potential, their understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, and their motivation to achieve. Their moral development involves children gaining an understanding of the difference between right and wrong, a concern for others and the will to do what is right. They begin to be able to reflect on the consequences of their actions and learn how to forgive others and themselves. Moral and spiritual development is taught through all subjects of the curriculum and in particular RE and PSHE. Early years care practitioners help to support children’s moral and spiritual development throughout their early development stages.
Practitioners help to do this by using inclusion, this is where they provide children with the opportunity to learn and develop through activities and other types of school work. However, the practitioners may need to amend activities to meet all the different children’s needs and requirements; e.g. a child with special educational needs may need work sheets in a certain font size to enable them to read it with ease. Another way in which practitioners may help to meet each child’s aims is to provide ability appropriate activities. It is important for early year’s practitioners to do this as the children will then realise that everyone can join in activities even if they have specific needs. This will result in the children feeling valued and building on their self-esteem.
An early year’s practitioners should behave morally correct for the children to follow and look up to as a role model/example as children imitate and learn behaviour from others who are significant to them. To support children’s moral and spiritual development it is essential for the early year’s practitioner to praise and encourage children’s healthy behaviour. Practitioners should encourage children to tell the truth, keep promises, respect others, care for the less fortunate, and to accept responsibility for their own actions. Behaviour like bullying, lying, cruelty, irresponsibility, and selfishness should be expressed to the children as morally wrong, and it could upset or hurt other individuals. How care practitioners support moral and spiritual development through;
The learning environment:
The school, but mainly the classroom provides a suitable environment for promoting and supporting moral and spiritual development. Children learn to lead, use their initiative, and become disciplined through learning what is right and wrong. It will help to create positive personal relationships between children and adults, and they should be encouraged based on the value of and respect for every individual. The learning environment will help the children to be knowledgeable about the different celebrations that take place in a diverse society e.g. Diwali, Christmas, Easter and so on.
Practitioners should emphasis to children that they should values themselves and others as everyone has a place and a role within society. Also, the preparation for life within a diverse society should be included into the children’s teaching to ensure they are aware that there are many different cultures and beliefs living in one society. Another role the practitioners need to take is to ensure children are aware of the role of the family in society. Inclusive behaviour:
This involved promoting values, for example, explaining to the children that they should tell the truth and not lie to other children or adults. With this children should respect others and treat people the way in which they want to be treated. Practitioners should include all children within the day to day activities and plan for those with extra specific needs. Considering spirituality even without a structured belief system: Children should be able to explore their own beliefs and think about what they may belief without the practitioners putting bias views on them. Practitioners should encourage children to look more deeply into their own belief and explain it is okay to have a different belief compared to their other peers.
Early year Practitioners must make sure that they are keeping each individual safe so that they don’t victimize any child in the setting regarding their religion or beliefs or any other structure in their life such as culture as this will destroy the child’s self-esteem or may begin to lose their beliefs. At placement each practitioner values each child to making sure that that they are not picking on any child because of their religion or beliefs. Practitioners must make sure that they include all children to the activities making sure that the children are in a diverse atmosphere at all times so the children will be able to follow their beliefs.
The practitioners should set up activities that relate to a religion introducing the children to different religious celebrations etc. so that the Children would be aware of other religions around them. Practitioners should read books that include different religions for the children to gain more knowledge about there and other religions. At placement spiritual development is promoted as we have many books about religious celebrations such as; Christmas, Ramadan, Easter and many more. This teaches the children to respect other beliefs as they are aware of other religious festivals.
At early years settings practitioners must persuade children to tell the truth and also telling them what will happen if they were to be lying to one of the practitioners. For the practitioners to be able to encourage children to tell the truth practitioners should have activities like role play for the children to take part in as by this activity the practitioner can show the children that it is bad to lie. Practitioners should also encourage discipline to children, such as if a child is doing the wrong thing such as ripping a book the practitioners that see it must talk to the child immediately and let them know that ripping a book is wrong and explain in detail for the child to understand.
This way children learn from their mistakes what they did was wrong, by punishing the child for instance putting the child in time out will persuade them not to do it again. Care practitioners also need to teach children about valuing themselves and others around them. This will in return build an atmosphere in which peers respect one another and also respect members of staff/adults. Practitioners can help children grasp a sense of valuing themselves by praising them if they have done something good, for example, if the child helped to tidy up, or doing something extra than what they normally would do, then praising the child will make them feel good about themselves.
The child will feel as though they have achieved something good and will therefore be happy with themselves. However, the practitioner may find it hard to teach the children to value others around them as children find it difficult to empathize how others feel and respect others when they are young. This mainly comes with age, but a firm grounding from the practitioner will help. Teaching them things like the common saying of ‘treat people how you want to be treated’. When children have been unkind to one another the practitioner may want to ask them questions like ‘How would it make you feel if someone did that to you?’ This will allow the children to begin to value others as they will realize that unkind actions may hurt or upset others.
Courtney from Study Moose
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