What is spirituality?
It is very difficult to put into words what ‘spirituality’ actually is because it is a very personal experience. It differs from person to person, and often spirituality changes within people during their lifetime. Spirituality is not the same as having a religion or faith; a person can be spiritual without having a particular faith.
Some definitions include:
“Ones inner being. Our inner self where we can find resources within that come from a greater source.”
“Spirituality may refer to almost any kind of activity through which a person seeks meaning, especially a "search for the sacred." It may also refer to personal growth, blissful experience, or an encounter with one's own ‘inner dimension’."
Spirituality concerns a person’s relationship with themselves, with others, with nature beyond. These four elements: self; others; beauty and beyond form the basis of our work with children in developing a strong sense of spirituality.
Spiritual learners become increasingly aware of the concept of self – the inner person and the way this shapes an individual’s perception of themselves as a unique human being.
Spiritual learners become increasingly aware of the concept of others - a growing empathy, concern and compassion for how to treat others.
Spiritual learners become increasingly aware of the concept of a physical and creative world – a growing relationship with beauty and the ability to respond emotionally to experiences of the wonder of the natural world and the results of human creativity.
Spiritual learners become increasingly aware of the concept of beyond - a growing relationship with the transcendental and the ability to explore experiences beyond the everyday.
How we aim to develop a strong sense of spirituality
- Have regular time in the day for quiet and reflection. This might be listening to a story, lighting a candle in assembly, going for a walk
- Provide many opportunities for creativity and using the imagination
- Valuing play opportunities
- Singing often, especially with others.
- Ensuring regular time for prayer. This can take many forms, but should including being thankful, saying sorry. Allow children the opportunity to open themselves to God.
- Provide frequent opportunities for children to explore, express and share feelings.
- Constantly reaffirm the importance of relationships. How we talk to and relate with each other is fundamental.
- Provide opportunities to express awe and wonder, appreciate beauty in all its forms, and appreciate the connections and unity in the world
- Encourage each other to admit mistakes and to say sorry. Recognising and owning up to faults is an important healing and redemptive process.
- Encourage children to show kindness, caring and compassion, and to express these in practical ways. (eg: how we treat each other every day; charitable works; looking after pets)
- Explore the ‘Big Questions’ – particularly through our RE programme
- Read often to children and give them opportunities to discuss and reflect. This includes both secular and religious texts, in particular the Bible
Structures to support and develop spirituality:
- We have a planned programme for Collective Worship across the school. This maps out themes across the year, based on our school values.
- There is a daily act of collective worship taking different forms, and involving children
- Displays and pictures around the school continually celebrate and encourage reflection and spirituality
- Our RE curriculum is inspiring and motivating
- Visits and visitors support all our work
School staff support spirituality through:
- Seeing the need to develop their own spirituality for their own wellbeing, and so that they can effectively support and help our children and each other.
- Establishing and maintaining a partnership between pupils, parents and staff; recognising and respecting the faith background of the children and their families;
- Taking part in, and supporting, collective acts of worship;
- Being good role models in their conduct towards other members of the community;
- Promoting an attitude of respect for other people and for others’ views;
- Nurturing consideration for and generosity towards others.
- Drawing on the experiences of pupils and their families during religious education lessons and beyond;
- Recognising and being constantly aware of the needs and backgrounds of each individual pupil;
- Being willing to develop their own knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith and the faiths of others;
- Having a positive attitude to the value of spiritual education.
Pupils can support spirituality through:
- Taking an active part in acts of collective worship;
- Participating in activities which promote the skills allowing them to engage in examination of and reflection upon religious belief and practice;
- Conducting themselves towards others considerately, in line with the code of conduct;
- Respecting the views and beliefs of others.
Parents can support spirituality through:
- Adopting a positive attitude to the value of spiritual education;
- Supporting the school’s Christian ethos and acts of community worship such as assemblies and church services;
- Respecting the views and beliefs of other
Impact: how do we know this is being effective?
Spiritually developed children love and accept themselves and enjoy good relationships with each other. They take an interest and delight in the world around them; they are open to what lies beyond the material (this may manifest itself in faith/belief in God). They are able to express and understand feelings, they have a strong moral sense and a love of what is good. They are able to enjoy quiet and stillness, they possess an active imagination, and show joy in creativity and discovering new skills.