This unit explores the historical and current interest in the spiritual life and the spiritual development of children. It examines links between Scripture, theological thought, spiritual and psychological development, neurobiology and ministry with children. The unit seeks to develop more informed ministries of protection and respect in pastoral care and religious education.

Unit code: DS3719S

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an awareness of and informed critique of a range of views relating to the nurture and development of spirituality in children.


Reflect theologically on aspects of ministry in protection, respect and valuing of children through pastoral care and religious education.


Recognize, articulate and integrate within a practice framework the pastoral significance of love for the self, the other, the environment and the Divine as part of spirituality in the life of the child.


Reflect on and demonstrate an ability to integrate spiritual experiences in life from childhood to the present.


Articulate a sound educational theory and theories of faith development

Unit sequence

18 points in Field D


Lecture, discussion, peer reviewed presentations, critical reading, experiential workshops.

Indicative Bibliography

Recommended Reading: • Berryman, J., Children and the Theologians New York: Moorehouse, 2009.

• Berryman, J The spiritual guidance of children, New York: Moorehouse, 2013.

• Browning, D. & Bunge, M. Children and Childhood in World Religions: Primary Sources and Texts New Brunswick NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2009.

• Bunge, M., The child in Christian thought Grand Rapids: Eardsman, 2001.

• Castro, I., Swauger, M.& Harger.B, Researching Children and Youth: Methodological Issues, Strategies, and Innovations Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited, 2017.

• Crittenden, S. [ed]. Health and integrity in Church and Ministry : conference papers : an ecumenical conversation on the task of rebuilding and renewal after the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse 27-29 August 2018, Melbourne, Australia Waverley, NSW : Franciscan Friars (Australia), 2019.

• Csinos, D. Little Theologians: Children, Culture, and the Making of Theological Meaning Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2020.

• Coles, R., The spiritual life of children London: Harper Collins, 1990.

• Doidge , N., The brain that changes itself USA: Scribe, 2007.

• Greenspan, S., The secure child USA: De Capo press, 2002.

• Hay, D. with Nye, R.,The Spirit of the Child Great Britain: Harper Collins, 1998.

• Hyde, B., Children and spirituality London: JKP, 2008.

• Jensen, D., Graced vulnerability Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2005.

• Lings G. (Ed) Messy Church Theology: Exploring the significance of Messy Church for the wider church Abingdon UK: Bible Reading Fellowship, 2013.

• Mercer, J. A., * Welcoming children* St Louis: Chalice, 2005.

• Moore, L., Messy Church 2Abingdon: Bible Reading Fellowship, 2008.

• Mountain, V., Four links between Child Theology and children’s spirituality vol16 No3 261-271 *International Journal of Children’s Spirituality UK: Taylor & Francis, 2011.

• Mountain, V., Educational contexts for developing children’s spirituality Vol 12 No 2 191-207 International Journal of Children’s Spirituality UK: Taylor & Francis, 2007.

• Music, G., Nurturing natures UK; Psychology Press, 2011.

• Newey, E. Children of God: The Child as Source of Theological Anthropology Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. 2012.

• Nye, R., Children's Spirituality- what is it and why it matters UK: Church House, 2009.

• Paver, J., Theological Reflection Aldershot VT: Ashgate, 2006.

• Perry, B. & Szalavitz, M., The boy who was raised as a dog USA: Perseus, 2006.

• Rahner, K., “Ideas for a theology of childhood” Theological investigations V.8 Further theology of the spiritual life, 2 London: Darton Longman & Todd, 1871.

• Richards, A & Privett, P., Through the eyes of a child UK: Church House, 2009.

• Ulinov, B. & A., Primary Speech Atlanta Georgia: John Knox House, 1982.

• Yust, K., Real Kids real Faith San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

• White, K. & Willmer, H., An introduction to Child Theology, London: Child Theology Movement, 2008.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper - 1500 word tutorial report and oral presentation 1500 25.0
Essay - 1500 word response to scripture 1500 25.0
Essay - 2000 word essay 2000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 8 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:50 +1000