Creating A Culture Of Caring

In 3rd and 4th grade, I participated in an afterschool Kids Club organized by a neighborhood grandmother. I would walk to her house every Tuesday for homemade snacks and educational activities.

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Starters That Support Well-Being

“Can’t I just be 10 minutes late?” pleaded my daughter. We were driving to her Brownie troop meeting and I could see her unhappy face in the rearview mirror.

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Preparing Preschoolers for Spiritual Learning

Working with preschoolers can be a blast! Many are full of curiosity about everything and eager to explore. Even the more timid among them can become fascinated by relatively simple things: butterflies,

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Teaching Spiritual Discourse

One of parents’ greatest fears is that others will indoctrinate their children with ideas that don’t match their family’s values.

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Child-Led Spiritual Learning

As a child, I often was bored in school even though I loved to learn. I would quickly tune out adult monologues and rip through fill-in-the-blank worksheets without paying much attention.

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Being Antiracist with Kids

As a white researcher and teacher, I know I am susceptible to implicit bias. Even though I am committed to antiracism,

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Building Rapport

As Covid-19 transmission risks soar again, concerns about the effects of masking and social distancing on relationships also rise.

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Celebrating Self-Discovery

As the regular school year draws to a close, many extracurricular programs also pause for the summer. Teachers and leaders plan celebrations to mark all that children have learned.

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Setting Spiritual Goals

A few years ago, I taught a child who struggled with managing his emotions in group settings. He was unhappy about his outbursts and wanted to act more calmly so other children would partner with him on activities.

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Project-Based Spirituality

A few years ago, my children’s school decided to sponsor two Habitat for Humanity home builds. The actual construction happened in the spring,

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A 5E Model of Spiritual Education

One of my eldest child’s favorite memories is a series of 5th grade class sessions where they explored scientific theories for ancient religious events.

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Being Gender Inclusive

I started transgressing gender norms with my children when they were babies. I dressed them in colors and styles assigned to their ‘opposite’ gender.

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Replacing Hurtful Words with Kindness

“Losers! Losers!” shouted a kid on the opposing soccer team. My fifth grader and her teammates were headed to the parking lot after a 0-7 game.

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Sharing Personal Spiritual Practices

Children’s group leaders often wonder how much to share about their personal lives with young people. We appropriately want to protect our privacy and maintain appropriate boundaries.

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Using Story Circles to Build Empathy

Sorting through a box of old school papers, I found a story one of my children wrote in 2nd grade.

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Reimagining Spiritual Education

Most of the time, we think of the global pandemic as a terrible time for children and learning. School closures,

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Neuroscience and Learning

Have you ever heard (or said) that spirituality is ‘caught, not taught’? While it’s true that good models and experiences are important for spiritual development,

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Guiding Questions for Pandemic Programming

Just when we thought it was safe to relax a little, the Omicron variant has swooped in and put pandemic debates in the spotlight again.

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Movement-Enhanced Learning

Several years ago, I was leading a holiday workshop and more kids than I expected showed up. There weren’t enough chairs to go around.

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Helping Kids Appreciate Facts

What is a fact? One basic definition is that facts are things that we know to be true because of experience,

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Avoiding Seductive Details

Drawing children into learning activities can sometimes feel like Sisyphus rolling an immense boulder uphill. Just when we think we’ve gotten their attention,

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Teaching Tough Topics

Ruth Wills doesn’t believe in shying away from tough topics with children. A few years ago, she developed a method for helping children reflect spiritually on the Holocaust and its legacy of hate and bias.

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Empathy Maps

Getting to know the children with whom we work is essential. We learn their names and perhaps ask about their favorite activities or what they did this week or last summer.

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Strengthening Connections

“I forgot my mask” yelled my daughter as she ran home from the bus stop, then back out again,

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Gender and Sexual Diversity Inclusion

My daughter returned from her third grade ‘Meet the Teacher’ with news she’d heard through friends: a boy in her class last year was now wearing a dress and using a girl’s name.

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Public Learning

The common idea that spirituality is a private matter  creates a dilemma for organizations that partner with families to nurture children’s spiritual identities.

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Back to the ‘Kinda’ Familiar

As a new school year begins, many organizations are planning to welcome children back to in-person programs. But experts say we shouldn’t expect to just jump right in where we left off.

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Talking with Kids Under 10

Talking with children seems simple enough, but effective communication is actually more complicated than we think. Our words, tone,

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Spiritual Counseling

For many children, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a time of trauma, grief, and loss. Even if children have come through the last 18 months without knowing someone who became seriously ill or died,

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Contextual Engagement

Engaging children in spiritual work is a contextual experience. Yet much of our understanding about children’s development and learning comes from WEIRD studies: research focused on Western (largely white),

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Critical Race Theory

When the University of North Carolina declined to tenure Nikole Hannah-Jones after recruiting her for a chair in journalism,

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Letting Go of the ‘Main Point’

It’s often the first thing a teacher or group facilitator looks for in a lesson plan: a line near the top that identifies the ‘main point’ or central idea that children should take away from the lesson.

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Collective Spiritual Conversations

Often our interactions with children center around questions like “What did you learn? Or “How did that happen?” We then expect certain semi-scripted responses from children in return.

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Spiritual Mirrors, Windows & Doors

“But mom,” my eldest complained, “why do I have to go to church school? They never talk about anything relevant!”

Like some parents,

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Building Spiritual Resilience

As new Covid-19 cases decline in the U.S., families are embracing opportunities to reconnect and restart communal activities. Yet conflicting advice and the lack of an approved vaccination for children mean that the disruptions associated with living through a global pandemic are far from over.

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Using Landscape Images in Spiritual Reflection

My youngest child loves Van Gogh’s Starry Night. In fifth grade, he picked out a t-shirt that had Albert Einstein’s head superimposed on that image.

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Using Virtual Rooms to Strengthen Community

Over the past year, teachers, therapists, librarians, and others have created virtual rooms with bitmoji to engage children and create connections.

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Spiritually Rich Virtual Interactions

As we slowly move back to regular in-person contact, part of a new normal will likely include virtual presence for many activities.

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Guided Play

When it comes to educating young children, we’ve all heard that play is an important part of learning. And yet,

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Unbundled Spirituality

Once upon a time, families turned almost exclusively to religious congregations to meet their spiritual needs. They relied on programs and services provided by a specific faith community,

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Young Children and Connectedness

The other day, my tween son and I were talking and laughing as we sorted through piles of nursery artwork I have stored in the basement.

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Helping Families Navigate Multiple Spiritual Traditions

Many children are growing up in families that have ties to multiple spiritual traditions. In a household where one parent is Muslim and another parent Unitarian,

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How Labels Undermine Spiritual Identity

“Where are all my helpers? It’s time to clean up our room for storytime.” 

Many adults use the title ‘helper’

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Relationships as Roots

Dr. Eugene Roehlkepartain has noticed that when adults say relationships with kids matter, they really mean parents should care.

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Helping Families Talk about Death during a Pandemic

The pandemic has brought death to the forefront of family life. From news stories to changes in daily habits so that family members do not infect others with COVID-19,

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Race & Gender Bias in Children’s Media

Children consume a lot of media. They watch videos, play animated games, and have favorite streaming television shows. And as they watch,

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Spiritual Story Books

My children love to read. From a young age, they knew that I would rarely deny their request to buy a book that caught their eye.

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Addressing Diversity

Creating a supportive learning environment for all children is a goal held by many organizations. Yet how to accomplish that goal is debatable.

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Class Bias in Religious Resources

Pandemic business closures, safer-at-home orders, and the move to virtual schooling have hit all families hard, but some are struggling more than others.

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Supporting Healthy Media Use

A mom I know is struggling with the amount of time her 7 and 10 year olds are online. They spend their school day in virtual classes and then another 2 or 3 hours watching YouTube videos and streaming TV shows.

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Helping Children Identify as Spiritual People

When parents name a child, they do so with high hopes that the name will somehow influence who that child becomes.

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