Spirituality in early childhood pedagogy: a Froebelian perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper aims to explore a Froebelian perspective on the role of spirituality in early childhood pedagogy. Spirituality is considered as an integral part of human development and a way of human connectedness (Bone 2005). Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) highlighted the importance of spirituality through his writing focusing on the Unity, which connects the child with humanity, nature and divinity. This paper adopts Froebel’s philosophy (Froebel 1840; Froebel 1892; Froebel 1899; Brehony 2009; Bruce 2012; Tovey 2013) and other scholars' conceptualisation of spirituality as theoretical framework. Best (2000) argues that spiritual education concerns the idea and practices of educating and supporting the whole child's development including physical, personal, emotional development, aesthetic awareness and creativity, and morality whilst Adams, Bull and Maynes (2016) recognise nurturing children’s spiritual development as a complex matter alongside the difficulty in defining spirituality in early childhood. Drawing on key primary and secondary sources relevant to spirituality, this paper uses documentary research rooted in interpretivism to critically analyse existing literature, research and practice. Ethics is addressed via a careful interpretation and evaluation of existing sources to avoid misunderstanding, stereotypes and biases (Robinson, 2010; O’Leary, 2014). The research reveals difficulty in gaining a comprehensive understanding of spirituality in line with Froebel's philosophy. However, the Froebelian perspective on current practice suggests spirituality as an important means to support children's holistic learning and wellbeing. This well addresses concerns over the political agenda focusing on accountability and performativity without true consideration of childhood experience and wellbeing (Moss and Dahlberg 2008).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 12 Sept 2021
EventEECERA conference 2021 - online event
Duration: 14 Jul 202123 Jul 2021


ConferenceEECERA conference 2021


  • spirituality, unity, Froebelian perspective, a Froebelian approach, Froebel's Mother Songs, symbolic life, connection with nature, holistic learning, wellbeing

Cite this