DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy Spiritual Development in Young Children DEBOR A H SCHEIN, PhD COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Praise for Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy “A richly told story of how our spiritual awakening happens early on in life and how play and nature serve as positive forces that offer spiritual gifts to enjoy throughout our lifetime. This book is a series of revelations, a narrative easy to enjoy and learn much from. It’s a lovely book!” —Walter F. Drew, EdD, cofounder and executive director, Institute for Self Active Education “Dr. Schein offers us a provocative new lens for examining child development and exploring the inner world of the child. Her perspective on spirituality encourages and challenges us to slow down and be present in moments of joy and wonder with the children we care for. She grounds her thinking in both foundational and contemporary theories and provides readers with practical suggestions to support them in nurturing this important trait in children.” —Robin Ploof, cofacilitator of NAEYC’s Play Policy and Practice Interest Forum “Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy gives language to an important and new way to look at an aspect of development in young children that has previously been misunderstood or overlooked. This book is thoughtful and thought provoking, giving new insight to children’s spiritual growth from infancy on.” —Susan Remick Topek, early childhood consultant “Dr. Schein’s book is an inspiring and refreshing approach to children’s spirituality, highlighting love and reminding us of its center stage status in early childhood edu- cation. This book makes a significant contribution to the field of children’s spiritual development.” —Jennifer Mata-McMahon, EdD, author of Spiritual Experiences in Early Childhood Education “Dr. Schein has successfully unpacked the meaning of spirituality for young chil- dren in this incredibly compelling and well-written treatise that will engage early childhood educators, parents, and leaders in the field. Far beyond another teacher’s guide, this book touches the very soul of early childhood education.” —Dr. David Brody, coordinator, Early Childhood Education, Efrata College of Education, Jerusalem COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET “Dr. Schein has written an extraordinary book. It contains essential elements, important research, and actionable ideas for intentionally supporting children’s spiritual development—the missing link for creating a better world. It’s a timely and important topic that all teachers and parents of young children need to read. I highly recommend it.” —Patti Bailie, PhD, assistant professor, Early Childhood Education, University of Maine–Farmington “Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy is a monumental addition to the field of early childhood education. Schein has fitted the missing piece of the puzzle to the devel- opment of the whole child by defining spirituality as ‘reflecting deep connections and moments of wonder.’ Dr. Schein makes us comfortable with the word and gives us the language and tools to bring this universal experience to any setting in any environment.” —Robyn Hurvitz and Lynne Lieberman, director of professional development and senior director, Friedman Commission for Jewish Education “In an almost magical way, Dr. Schein weaves strands of research with personal stories to illustrate how spiritual development unifies and energizes all other areas of child development. Readers will find in this engaging book new insights into spirituality and how it’s manifested in children’s everyday discoveries and interac- tions. While Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy addresses a serious topic, it will leave readers feeling uplifted.” —Ruth Wilson, PhD, research library curator, Children and Nature Network, author of Learning Is in Bloom and Nature and Young Children COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET C C C C Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy Spiritual Development in Young Children Deborah Schein, PhD COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Published by Redleaf Press 10 Yorkton Court St. Paul, MN 55117 © 2018 by Deborah Schein All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted on a specific page, no portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or capturing on any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a critical article or review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper, or electronically transmitted on radio, television, or the Internet. First edition 2017 Cover design by Erin Kirk New Cover photograph by bst2012/ Interior design by Louise OFarrell Typeset in Garamond Premier Pro Interior photos on pages 13, 19, 23, 37, 80, and 123 by Johanna Resnick Rosen; 27 by Kara Lomen; 83 by Becky Surtshin; 125 by Edyta Linek/stock.adobe .com Images on pages 9, 20, and 134–38 by Jim Handrigan Printed in the United States of America 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Schein, Deborah L., author. Title: Inspiring wonder, awe, and empathy : spiritual development in young children / Deborah Schein, PhD. Description: First edition. | St. Paul, MN : Redleaf Press, [2018] | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: lccn 2017022211 (print) | lccn 2017036409 (ebook) | isbn 9781605544854 (ebook) | isbn 9781605544847 (pbk. :acid-free paper) Subjects: lcsh: Children—Religious life. | Spirituality. | Religious education of children. Classification: lcc bl625.5 (ebook) | lcc bl625.5 .s34 2018 (print) | ddc 204.083—dc23 LC record available at Printed on acid-free paper COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET To my husband, Jeffrey Schein, who has been my support, my confidant, my walking dictionary and thesaurus, and my teacher for over forty-six years. This book would not exist without his presence and voice in my life. Many others have been there for me during the writing of this book. I would like to pass on this blessing from my heart: Thank you for relationships, words, and ideas, for dialogue, experiences, and playfulness of thought. Thank you for wonder and beauty, and thank you for a life filled with love. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Contents Acknowledgments ix Introduction What Is Spiritual Development for Young Children?  1 Chapter 1 The Developing Self  11 Chapter 2 Spiritual Development in Relationship to Other Developmental Domains  33 Chapter 3 Curriculum, Play, and Spiritual Development  55 Chapter 4 Nature and Spiritual Development: Being in Nature and with Nature  71 Chapter 5 Cultivating Spiritual Moments with Young Children  91 Chapter 6 Preventing Bullying by Nurturing Spiritual Development  113 Conclusion A Stronger Beginning Begins Now  133 References 143 Index 149 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Acknowledgments Way back when this book was just a thought, Tamar Jacobson introduced me to one of the editors of Redleaf Press. Then Mimi Plevin-Foust helped me to prepare the book proposal so that Redleaf Press might see the importance and possibility for publishing a book on spiritual development. I thank Tamar, Mimi, Kyra Ostendorf, Kara Lomen, David Heath, and Laurie Herrmann for believing in both the topic of spiritual development and in me! I also received so much support and guidance from Meredith Burks, Jim Handrigan, Sue Ostfield, and everyone else at Redleaf Press. Thank you to Louise OFarrell for providing the beautiful design of this book. Then there are others, such as my sister Lori Goodman, my friend Katie Cahn, and my blog designers and managers, Halle and Benjamin Bar- nett, who have all inspired me and helped me to work through the hard parts. A big thank-you goes out to my doctoral adviser, Amie Beckett, to whom I will always be grateful for sticking with me through thick and thin. Somehow, I am miraculously here at this point—writing a book. I have been given assistance from two amazing editors, Danny Miller and Heidi Hogg. I am quite sure that their gentle guidance has helped to make this book more accessible and clear for readers. Thank you also to Ester Leutenberg, who recently coauthored a book with me; she and I created pages and pages of ideas for educators and parents to use for nurturing children’s spiritual development. Some of these ideas are located at the end of each chapter of this book. Finally, thank you to all the educators, directors, photographers, and colleagues I have met over the years at workshops, talks, and confer- ences. A special thanks goes out to Johanna Resnick Rosen, Jo Rosen pho- tography. It is because of all of you and your support that I am able to be here, in this moment, thanking all of you. ix COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Introd uc tion What Is Spiritual Development for Young Children? This book offers a new way of thinking about child development by defining spiritual development for early childhood class- rooms. In pioneering a new working definition of spiritual development that begins at birth and by offering a series of strategies that can nurture a young child’s spiritual development, this book initiates a dialogue that rec- ognizes and builds on the spiritual lives of children in the classroom setting. My hope is that this dialogue will help parents and educators learn how to offer all children a stronger beginning to a rich and fulfilling life that is filled with important learning opportunities and deep connections. At one time in my professional career, I believed that spiritual development was missing in most early childhood programs. I have since come to see that it is not missing—the problem is that we do not know how to define spirituality without referencing God or religion, and we do not yet recognize it as its own domain of development. The pages of this book are filled with my own personal experiences, the experiences of many other early childhood educators, research find- ings from a variety of sources, and the findings that emerged from my own social constructivist / grounded theory research study—incorporating the voices of the researcher and the participants as they respond to shared ques- tions around topics that have not been fully explored. Our topic of spiritual COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 1 DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET development among young children led to a shared understanding of spiri- tuality that reflects deep connections and moments of wonder rather than a focus on God and religion. This simple yet significant shift makes the topic of spiritual development accessible to all educators and for all children. In other words, the research study produced a definition of spiritual develop- ment that can be used in public school education in a way that honors and respects the separation of church and state. When I would talk to other educators about my research in spiritual development, I was often greeted with comments such as “Can’t you call it something else?” The consensus was that the language of spirituality made many teachers and other adults very uncomfortable in the school setting. Many of the study participants shared that they had never been asked to discuss spiritual development and they did not really know how to respond. I would say, “What do you think your children feel internally when you provide them with something they really love?” “Oh,” they would say, “I have lots of stories about that.” Thinking a lot about Vygotsky’s theory of thought and language, where one’s language helps to guide one’s thinking, I also began to ask myself and others a myriad of questions: What are educators, parents, and children missing when the words spirituality or spiritual development are excluded from our lexicon as we work with young children? How might spirituality be defined in a way that is more acceptable to US educators and nonreligious parents? What unfolds in this book is a new definition of spiritual develop- ment that uses familiar language, such as love, attachment, self-awareness, disposition, and deep connections. Tracing the Question of Spiritual Development I have been interested in exploring spiritual development for most of my life, but I can trace my decision to research a way to define spiritual devel- opment in the context of early childhood education to a specific moment in time. Before I talk about that, I’d like to describe some of the personal expe- riences that led me to the topic of spiritual development. My teaching career began in 1972 with Montessori training and some amazing years as 2 R Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET a Montessori educator. My Montessori training occurred a few years after I received a bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Cali- fornia at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and included training from both the Amer- ican Montessori Society (AMS) and the Association Montessori Internatio- nale (AMI). What most attracted me to the Montessori philosophy was the respect given to children; the beauty of the materials; the investigation of nature through the study of leaves, animals, plant growth, and food prepara- tion; and the simplicity and authenticity of the learning environment. As I observed children working diligently both for self-satisfaction and a desire to please me, their teacher, I noticed the awakening of an inner strength emanating from many of my students. Was this the children’s “spiri- tual embryo” that Maria Montessori often wrote about? In 1978 my son Benjamin was born, followed closely by Jonah and Hana. One question my husband and I asked ourselves was “How do we raise chil- dren who reflect our own value system?” The other question was “What kind of people do we want our own children to become?” Given that my husband is a rabbi and educator, it seemed wise to integrate Jewish life with our children’s early childhood experiences. Because of this, I found myself leaving the world of Montessori for a new adventure in Jewish early child- hood, although many of Montessori’s beliefs stayed with me. I worked in Jewish day schools (schools that go through sixth or eighth grade) from 1986 to 2001 in both Philadelphia and Cleveland. In these Jewish early childhood programs, I was able to comfortably focus on universal values with a Jewish twist. Kindness became hesed and the word for values became middot—Hebrew words for these universal val- ues. One of the biggest differences I discovered while teaching in a Jewish environment was an ability to use the tool of blessings and prayers. Such blessings helped me to observe how internal feelings of gratitude can be awakened while simultaneously enhancing external spiritual moments. I remember one day coming into school and finding rainbows dancing all over the walls of our indoor motor room. Everyone—parents, children, and educators alike—was mesmerized by the presence of the reflected lights of color. I knew there was a blessing for rainbows, but I didn’t know it by heart. Being in a Jewish school meant there was always a rabbi at hand. The children and I went to find the rabbi who shared the blessing with us: What Is Spiritual Development for Young Children? COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL R 3 DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֶלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם זוֹכֵר הַבְּרִית וְנֶאֱמָן בִּבְרִיתוֹ וְקַיָם בְּמַאֲמָרוֹ Baruch ata Ado-nai Elo-heinu melech ha’olam zocher ha’brit v’ne’eman bivrito v’kayam b’ma’amaro. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who remembers the covenant, and is faithful to His covenant, and keeps His promise. (Chein 2016) The blessing helped to enhance our moment of wonder and gratitude for this beautiful experience. We did not focus much on the words and meaning of the blessing. For now, we were more interested in marking the moment with special words. After reciting the blessing, the children began to ask a myriad of ques- tions: Why is there a rainbow? Why today? Where is it coming from? Can we make our own rainbows? Can we touch it? Can it come on me? The children were also interested in the variety of colors, and some children thought they could see some sequencing or order to the colors. The experi- ence was very exciting, but rather than being loud and boisterous, we ini- tially all stopped and caught our breath in response to all the beauty that surrounded us. The questions came in hushed voices. By this time in my career, I had the good fortune to be working at a school that supported art education and children’s inquiry. I had also spent many years studying and reading about Reggio Emilia philosophy. In Ohio, where I was living at the time, I was able to participate in Reggio Emilia study groups, attend classes at Kent State University, and participate in workshops on Reggio Emilia philosophy taking place all over the United States. Looking back at the day the rainbows came to visit, I would say that the experience emerged from a shared spiritual moment. Back then, even in a religious school, there was no language for acknowledging this type of experience as nurturing children’s spiritual development. Yes, the children and I explored many perspectives of rainbows, and we all grew in our under- standing of the relationship between light and water. The children explored color mixing and color comparisons, and one little boy named Eli renamed some of the crayons in the crayon box. In retrospect, I believe this was Eli’s way of connecting spirituality to the colors in the rainbow. The children also 4 R Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET grew in their ability to interact with one another through shared discussion and research. But because we had no awareness or language to discuss the spiritual side of the experience, spiritual development appeared to have been neglected. A Growing Need to Talk about Spiritual Development Years later, after my own children had grown old enough to leave the Jewish day school for public high school, after I spent a year revisiting Montessori by acting as a lead Montessori educator back in Philadelphia, and after visit- ing Reggio Emilia, I moved into a low socioeconomic, inner-city school in Cleveland. This is where I was hit with the big question about spiritual develop- ment. Here is how it all unfolded. While working as teacher and director at the Goodrich-Gannett Neighborhood Center (GGNC) in the heart of one of the poorest neighborhoods in Cleveland, I was also working on a book called What’s Jewish about Butterflies? with Maxine Handelman. The book was about supporting Jewish early childhood educators who wanted to bring  Jewish values into their classrooms. While I would sit writing, I would look over the sleeping children. Many came from lower-income families and had one or both parents absent from their lives. I loved them deeply and they loved me back. They were all growing and learning, and things were running smoothly. I felt great about the work I was doing, but something, some ingredient, was missing, and I simply could not put my finger on it. I had brought in practical-life materials learned from my Montessori years to guide the children toward deep focusing, which I have come to see as a primary ingredient of spiritual development. For me, being able to focus is a like a window into one’s inner self. From brain research, we learn that the ability to focus is connected to what neurologists and developmen- tal psychologists call executive functioning—focus or inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and working memory (Semrud-Clikeman 2017). Back in 2002 I wasn’t thinking about executive functioning, but I noticed that most of the children, even the big kids (those five to nine years old), would come into the classroom to have a try at the practical-life trays. Each tray held two small bowls. One bowl was filled with rice, beans, acorns, sand, What Is Spiritual Development for Young Children? COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL R 5 DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET or something similar. I would place a pretty container (such as a wooden box or glass vase) next to the trays to hold an assortment of spoons and tongs so the children could choose which to use. After selecting a spoon and tray, each child would carefully carry the chosen tray to a table, sit down, and beginning spooning the contents of one bowl to the other with careful deliberation. There were also trays with small glass pitchers filled with colored water for pouring. Whether the children were spooning or pouring, there appeared to be an invisible thread connecting hand, eye, mind, and body. As the chil- dren worked on individual tasks, their faces glowed, their expressions were serious, and you could tell that they were completely engaged in the task. My observations led to a deeper understanding of how children might actu- ally be developing a sense of self while engaging in this work or self-selected play. I definitely think something big and important was happening. I also brought to my classroom environmental aspects inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. The beauty within my classroom did not quite compare to the photographs shared by Margie Carter and Deb Curtis in 6 R Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET their book Designs for Living and Learning, but my goals were aligned to a similar vision. In other words, the room was filled with beauty, order, and materials strategically placed to stimulate ideas, discussion, questions, proj- ects, and so on. The children were engaged and happy. So what was bother- ing me? What was missing? One spring day, while in the outdoor playground, a small boy came up to me with a big grin of delight across his face. He slowly opened his hand and showed me his prize. It was a long, wet, curly worm. If you knew me well, you would know that I truly love all things from nature. I would normally be delighted to see a worm. But that day, I froze. I realized that back in my Jewish early childhood days, I would have access to a blessing. In fact, Max- ine and I talked about blessings from the heart in the very book that we were writing. These are blessings that are made up to serve any specific purpose at any moment. Most Jewish blessings begin with “Blessed are you, God.” For children in a public-school setting, there is no reason at all not to create a blessing from the heart to acknowledge a spiritual moment. This is when I first realized what ingredient was missing in my inner-city classroom—a What Is Spiritual Development for Young Children? COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL R 7 DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET lens for spiritual development. I could have responded to the child with the worm by saying, for example, “Thank you, world, for giving us amazing crea- tures.” I could have turned to the child and asked him to share his gratitude in finding this worm. But I didn’t do anything. This lack of response led me to the Internet, where I typed in a variety of search terms to reflect spiritual development and the spirituality of young children. For spiritual development, I found very little that pertained to children. When I typed in spirituality, I found lots of material reflecting transcendence, God, and religion. I was left wondering what to do next. Over the next two years, I could not vanquish my thoughts of spiritual development for young children. People told me to forget it; spirituality is an uncomfortable word. “You cannot bring spirituality into an early child- hood classroom,” they said. But it followed me wherever I went. Finally, the only option left was to do my own research. In 2005 I enrolled as a doctoral student at Walden University, and I never looked back. Even in an academic setting, I had to fight battles to make my research a reality. With lots of hard work, a steadfast belief in what I was working on, and the help and support of my husband, Rabbi Jeffrey Schein, as well as my adviser, Dr. Amie Beckett, I made it through. Today, I can share an ever-evolving definition of spiritual development for young children that arranges this knowledge into a system that changes how we see and use that which we know (see the following diagram). Spiri- tual development is as complex and invisible to the naked eye as intellectual development, as deep-seated as emotional development, and as integrative as social development. In fact, my research shows that spiritual development may, in fact, be the precursor to all other areas of development. More work needs to happen in this field. For now, I am pleased to share the language of spiritual development so that we can begin the wonderful discovery of what is actually taking place within early childhood environments throughout the United States as we use this new and exciting lens to help children gain a better beginning to life and learning. 8 R Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET THE SYSTEM OF SPIRITUAL DE VELOPMENT Love, Connections, and Relationships Lead to a Positive Sense of Self Complex Dispositions: Acts of Caring, Kindness, Empathy, and Reverence Basic Dispositions and Spiritual Moments: Filled with Wonder, Awe, Joy, and Inner Peace In this system, the arrows go in all directions, indicating that spiritual development can be nurtured in many ways throughout one’s lifetime. What Is Spiritual Development for Young Children? COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL R 9 DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Ch a pter 1 The Developing Self The definition of spiritual development that emerged from my social constructivist / grounded theory study begins with love, a concept so simple, so universal that we all know and respect it as vitally important for healthy human development. When the word love is used at the beginning of life, it is in reference to the love a parent feels for a child. Such a definition of love connotes affec- tion, adoration, and devotion. It is an unconditional kind of love that initi- ates a trusting relationship between parent and child. To conduct my own research, I interviewed people about spiritual development. Throughout this book, I have included quotes that come directly from those interviews. Here is what one study participant says about love in relationship to spiri- tual development as it emerges at the beginning of one’s life: When we are born to this world, trust is the most basic mental, physi- cal, spiritual need, because [infants] are so dependent. Is someone going to take care of me? Love me? Of course, they aren’t thinking these things, but they learn to trust based on whether their needs are taken care of, whether they are cuddled and loved. It is trust that makes one feel safe and secure. It is trust that brings contentment. It is trust that gives us a sense of our own self-worth and allows us to value those around us. Love and acceptance, care and concern, tenderness and contentment all sup- port the developing personhood of the infant. 11 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET This participant speaks of trust as it develops out of the love a parent bestows on an infant. The love that guides parents to act with a sense of responsibility and respect initiates feelings of trust within the infant. Many theories support such ideas, each offering their own unique perspective to the topics of love, relationships, and the development of a child’s self- awareness. We will look at some of those theories in this chapter that were introduced by people such as Pestalozzi, Bronfenbrenner, Bowlby and Ain- sworth, Montessori, and Buber, some of whom were born over a century ago. Thanks to current brain research and neuroscience, we now know there is scientific evidence to support these ideas. Research on Love and Connections Pestalozzi Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi was a Swiss educator who lived from 1746 to 1847. I bring Pestalozzi to this discussion because of what he had to say about the relationship between mother and child. Pestalozzi wrote that children who are loved and whose spirits are nurtured are capable of an amazing human response—they love back! The power of this statement is 12 R Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET deeply important. Pestalozzi is saying that sophisticated emotional qualities such as empathy, understanding, or compassion are not taught but emerge from the child depending on how one is treated and loved at the beginning of life. I have personally witnessed infants’ displays of these sophisticated responses. Right after an infant has been fed and is gently being patted on the back, the child will respond by returning the pat. Such moments are indeed precious and telling of an infant’s capacities of loving back. Using broad strokes, Pestalozzi’s theory of educational philosophy can be described as “four spheres” of relationships. The first sphere is about human relationships. Children learn about human relationships at home when their parents or other family members help to create bonds of love. The sec- ond sphere, as described by Pestalozzi, focuses on a connection between the way an individual is valued and the level of self-determination or initiative that is evoked by the relationship or connection. In other words, desire and will can be triggered by relationships. If a child is loved and loves someone in return, the child will develop and use inner desire, will, and determina- tion to please that person, as well as themselves. The third sphere describes a child’s ability to move beyond the parent-child relationship into a deeper understanding of self, revealed through the child’s developing character, attitudes toward learning, and a sense of duty or responsibility. This is where The Developing Self COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL R 13 DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET cultural values, the idea of consequences, and moral development become apparent. For a child to move into this realm, the child must first develop a sense of who she is: a love of self that develops alongside the child’s relation- ships to all that lies beyond and around herself. The final realm includes a more sophisticated inner ability and desire to do what is right and good, no longer just for oneself but for others. In this last scenario, the child has grown into a human being who has internalized what is expected of her to live in her given society and culture. This sequence of development is ultimately intended to bring to the child feelings of peace and belonging. Children who have opportunities to be loved and nurtured in this way have a greater chance of growing into adults who can then bestow unconditional love on their own children. Ultimately, love provides a needed quality for human wellness and well-being. Bronfenbrenner Urie Bronfenbrenner, a Russian-born American psychologist, built a theory of development that places the child in the center of concentric circles that grow ever more complex as the child’s human relationships extend from family to school and neighborhood to community and beyond. Though Bronfenbrenner’s theory is similar in construct to Pestalozzi’s in that Bron- fenbrenner (1973, xvii) believed that all “children need people in order to become human,” his ultimate conclusions about children living in the United States during the mid- and late twentieth century were not so positive. While working with a grant from the National Science Foundation, Bronfenbrenner began to see how “models, peers, and group forces” pro- vide powerful influence upon the developing child (v). Some of this work took place as Bronfenbrenner researched and analyzed two worlds of childhood—the United States and Russia (then known as the USSR). He discovered that child-rearing practices of very young children in the USSR focused on a concept of vospitanie, meaning the development of the child’s “qualities as a person—his values, motives, and patterns of social response” (xxiv), a concept that does not translate easily to our English language. To develop this quality of vospitanie in Soviet children, caregivers were 14 R Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET asked to keep children warm and safe through loving and tender ways, while simultaneously emphasizing “obedience (  polushanie) and self-discipline (distsiplinirovannost)” (9). Soviet children were viewed as bringing joy to family and society, and their caregivers were called “upbringers” and were well respected (17). After Two Worlds of Childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R. was first published in 1970, Bronfenbrenner was invited to the White House Conference on Children held in December of that year. At this conference, he reported that “America’s families, and their children, are in trouble, trouble so deep and pervasive as to threaten the future of our nation” (Bronfenbrenner 1971, 252). The reason behind this threat was parental neglect of the United States’ children. At the time of this report, the United States stood “thir- teenth among the nations in combating infant mortality,” and violence of children was on the rise (252). Bronfenbrenner believed that scientific research and human experiences have shown that children need to be loved and connected to caring adults to become fully human and to reach their own potential. Again, the topic of love reigns as significant. Research on Love and Attachment Bowlby and Ainsworth This brings me to what most early childhood educators and parents within the United States already know, or should know, about love: love and attachment are requirements for healthy development. John Bowlby, a developmental psychologist, was inspired by Konrad Lorenz’s work on imprinting behaviors of baby geese. Lorenz’s work with geese led him to discover that all baby goslings follow and learn from the first moving body they see after birth. Bowlby wondered if something simi- lar to imprinting might exist for human infants. This question led him to his research that determines that infants and young children “should experi- ence a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship” with one’s mother or significant caregiver. Within this relationship, both adult and child should experience “satisfaction and enjoyment” (Bowlby 1951, 13). It is important to note here that both adult and child play significant roles in this relationship. The Developing Self COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL R 15 DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Later, Bowlby partnered with Mary Dinsmore Ainsworth who was researching attachment between children and mothers in Uganda. Ains­ worth ultimately provided Bowlby with the necessary empirical evidence to support his theory. Together, Bowlby and Ainsworth constructed a theory of love and attachment, demonstrating to the world that positive attach- ment has a significant and meaningful role in children’s personality devel- opment. In the end, both Bowlby and Ainsworth believed that positive love and attachment, based on mutual respect between child and adult, would guide children to develop positive self-worth and instill in them a desire and need to explore their environment (Bretherton 1992). Today, the theory of attachment remains important and relevant, as reflected in a relational-based approach to child rearing (Wittmer and Petersen 2014). Feeling safe and secure has taken precedence over feelings of love and attachment. Vygotsky (1962) reminds us that language can deter- mine one’s thoughts. In my opinion, a focus away from love and attach- ment has created a significant impact on child-rearing practices in the United States. Safe and secure has been defined in ways that negate or push aside the value of love needed at birth for healthy human development and well-being. For some children, safe and secure translates to being overly protected, coddled, pampered, and watched. These children live in a world in which they are told not to touch, climb, or play for fear they may hurt themselves, get sick, or worse. This is where the metaphor of the helicopter parent was born. Helicopter parent refers to parents who are overprotective and show too much involvement in the lives of their children. Children being raised by helicopter parents often lack resilience and competencies needed to become fully functioning adults. In other homes you might find a different scenario, but one just as worri- some: children who are safe and secure but have caregivers without time for loving relationships. Children who find themselves in the foster care system or whose parents are stressed and overworked may not be receiving the kind of love or attention they need to flourish. In either case, too much attention or too little can produce children who may be physically safe but not feeling loved, seen, or respected—and therefore, not spiritually nurtured in a way that helps them reach their full human potential. 16 R Chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET I can’t help but think that it is here that the gap in learning begins. The reality is that it only takes one person to bestow this kind of love on a child. It has been my experience that when children do develop strong love and attachment, they are observably ready to look beyond themselves into a world that is open to new possibilities. These children are more than ready to participate in new and exciting learning experiences. They often possess deep desires and abilities to explore their environments, to seek out knowl- edge, and to know how to build a number of new relationships. But before a child can develop any shared relationships, she first needs to develop a strong and clear sense of who she is—a personal sense of self. C II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II I I II II II II II II II II II II II II II II II Spiritual Development in Action At the Airport One day at the airport I saw a very small child looking all around. To me it seemed as if she was trying to get someone, anyone, to notice her. It reminded me of my visits to inner- city schools back in the ’90s and the early part of 2000. I would walk into a classroom and the children would swarm around me, seeking out closeness, attention, and hugs and affection from me, a perfect stranger. As I watched the young child at the airport, I realized that this child and my past experiences were examples of children being resilient. Chil- dren know what they need, and they find many ways to get the love and recognition they require for further learning to occur. It is we, the adults in a child’s life, who need to read the cues so we might support children where they are. It is up to us to help children develop a sense of who they are. Luckily, the very young child in the airport was finally able to get her mother’s attention. This baby was one of the lucky ones. Her mother made raspberry sounds, blew air bubbles, and chat- ted in a language I did not know or understand. These words for this three-month-old child were just what she was asking for. Mom was seeing her child and offering her recognition and spiritual nurturing. The child responded in turn, and I witnessed a lovely dance between the two of them. The Developing Self COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL R 17 DOUBLE TAB / c ia l-emo ti n al ea rly chil dhood ed ucati o n TO s o ZOOM ON o PHONE OR TABLET Nurture stronger social-emotional skills through spiritual development Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy offers educators thoughtful practices to encourage a child’s spiritual development—an extension of social-emotional learning. This book introduces a system that begins with love and leads to a strong sense of self, requires spiritual moments to ignite wonder and learning, and allows for the emergence of empathy that leads to personal wholeness. All early childhood educators, in secular or faith-based programs, can strengthen children’s self-awareness through increased social consciousness and prosocial behaviors, such as kindness, caring, empathy, and reverence. Moments of spiritual development help children grow, explore, play, and ask big questions. “A richly told story of how our spiritual awakening happens early on in life and how play and nature serve as positive forces that offer spiritual gifts to enjoy throughout our life- time. This book is a series of revelations, a narrative easy to enjoy and learn much from. It’s a lovely book!” —Walter F. Drew, EdD, cofounder and executive director, Institute for Self Active Education “Dr. Schein offers us a provocative new lens for examining child development and explor- ing the inner world of the child.” —Robin Ploof, cofacilitator, NAEYC’s Play, Policy, and Practice Interest Forum “Dr. Schein has written an extraordinary book: it contains essential elements, important research, and actionable ideas for intentionally supporting children’s spiritual develop- ment—the missing link for creating a better world. It’s a timely and important topic that all teachers and parents of young children need to read. I highly recommend it.” —Patti Bailie, PhD, assistant professor of early childhood education, University of Maine–Farmington DEBORAH SCHEIN has been an early childhood educator since 1972 and has a doctorate in early childhood education from Walden University. Dr. Schein currently works as an educational consultant and offers workshops across the country on the connection between spiritual development and nature education for young children. ISBN 978-1-60554-484-7 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL $29.95