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“We need a definition of spirit and spirituality that is separate from religion and religious education,” writes Amelia Richardson Dress, in an article that forms the basis of a new title in the Exchange Reflections collection, “Spirit and Spiritual Development.” Our Exchange team, looking for good food-for-thought articles, felt this topic is one that could be especially helpful during this challenging time.
Dress goes on to explain, “Leanne Hadley, whose work supporting children in crisis has been groundbreaking for both religious and secular professionals, uses this definition when she is working with children: ‘Spirit is the thing within us that makes us us. Spirituality is the way we connect our ‘inner us’ to everything else, including other people’s inner ‘usness.’ This understanding helps us think creatively about how to approach spirituality while respecting a child’s home culture. It also enables us to clearly identify our goal, in order to determine if we are achieving it. While it is extremely difficult to measure the ‘spirit’ of a child in the same way we might measure physical or academic growth, there are indicators of spirituality that we can look for in our classrooms and the children.”
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