The role of play in nurturing young children's spirituality: linking Froebelian thinking to posthuman new materialist lens

Activity: Talk or presentation for an academic audienceInvited talk for an academic audience


This part of the symposium 'Hidden identifications: reconfiguring, tracing and
connecting embodiments of spirituality, social history
and literacy within children play' with Simon Bateson and Kate Smith.

This symposium focuses on Froebel's belief that practitioners must attend deeply to the rich entanglements between children's inner lives and their outward expressions remains fundamental to inclusive practice today (Froebel, 1887; Bruce, 2021). At the heart of this is both a spiritual and political belief in the undivided life, which sees children as powerful co-creators living congruently with the world, determinedly making sense of their environment and making and inscribing new meanings and languages within it, both inner and outer (Liebschner, 2001; White, 2015). This symposium aims to explore the following aspects:
What ideas, practices and commitments, then, can further enable practitioners to support this in twenty-first century contexts amid extrinsic curriculum expectations?
How do we harness these entanglements (Bennett, 2010; Lenz Taguchi, 2010; Haraway, 2016; Osgood and Mohandas, 2021) to give value to and extend children's communication, spirituality and sense of both belonging and becoming?

Estimated audience numbers (if applicable)

Period12 Jun 202314 Jun 2023
Held atInternational Froebel Society
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • spirituality, play, Froebelian thinking, posthuman new materialist lens