The Spirit of the Child


In a society faced daily by moral and ethical dilemmas, spirituality is an increasingly significant area of child development; one which author David Hay argues should be an integral part of a child's education. In The Spirit of the Child, he shows how to incorporate spirituality in to the classroom, nurturing and developing children's own sense of morality and social cohesion.

While culturally constructed pressures and the decline in institutional religion have led to the suppression of spiritual expression, children are, the author maintains, capable of profound and meaningful beliefs from an early age. A three-year research study into young children's spirituality and its survival value informs Hay's view that spirituality in education needs to overcome traditional approaches and should adopt a theory of spirituality that includes religion but is not confined to it.

This stimulating new edition will encourage educators, parents and others involved in teaching children to consider new approaches to foster children's natural spiritual development.

Reviews of the first edition:

'This book has rapidly become a classic of children's spirituality. It provides an empirical and a conceptual basis for the idea of relational spirituality, an understanding that is not only of great practical interest to teachers, clergy and parents, but creates the groundwork for a prophetic protest against forces in the modern world that would undermine the natural spirituality of human beings. It is not only refreshingly clear in an area often somewhat confused, but offers original insights into the lives and attitudes of young children,'
John M Hull is Professor of Practical Theology in the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham and Emeritus Professor of Religious Education at the University of Birmingham, England.

'Today I find references to The Spirit of the Child in many different fields, including education theory, human development, psychology and sociology. It is the classic text for exploring spirituality in children, and an enduring resource for present need and future research,' Professor David Tacey, La Trobe University, Australia; author of The Spirituality Revolution.

'David Hay and Rebecca Nye have done outstanding research in this difficult, yet most important area…Reading this volume will help all involved to understand these issues more deeply, and to contribute more to the blossoming of a child's spirituality,' Professor K. Helmut Reich, School of Consciousness Studies and Sacred Values, Rutherford University.

'It is difficult not to be beguiled by Hay's analysis. What might be called its seamless holisticity, its concern to wed the spiritual to practical and altruistic purpose, and its lack of religious dogmatism (despite Hay's professed Roman Catholic affiliation) provide a sophisticated argument for educational and social purposiveness,' Clive Erricker, Editor, International Journal of Children's
Spirituality.

'I have just re-read The Spirit of the Child after seven years. It was recently used in a course I taught at General Theological Seminary in New York City. The book is still as fresh and exciting today as it was seven years ago. You cannot ask for a better team of writers to produce such a volume…I recommend this volume without reservation for reading and re-reading,' The Reverend Dr. Jerome W. Berryman, author of Godly Play, Executive Director, Center for the Theology of Childhood, Houston.

Revised Edition
David Hay with Rebecca Nye
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
116 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9JB, UK
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106,
Paperback, 224 pages
ISBN 1 84310 371 0
£14.99/US$24.95


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