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: DS9030P

Unit status: Approved (Minor revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological 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


Critique and integrate, in reflection and practice, sound educational theory and theories of faith development

Unit sequence

15 points in Field D


Lecture, discussion, peer reviewed presentations, discussing readings, experiential workshops

Indicative Bibliography

  • Berryman, J., The complete guide to Godly Play Colorado: Moorehouse, 2002.
  • Berryman, J., Children and the Theologians New York: Moorehouse, 2009.
  • Berryman, J The spiritual guidance of children, New York: Moorehouse, 2013.
  • Bunge, M., The child in Christian thought Grand Rapids: Eardsman, 2001.
  • 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.
  • Joiner, R., Think Orange USA: David Cook, 2009.
  • Mercer, J. A., Welcoming children St Louis: Chalice, 2005.
  • Moore, L., Messy Church 2 Abingdon: 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.
  • Mountain, V., Prayer is a positive activity for children Vol 10 No3 International Journal of Children’s Spirituality UK: Taylor & Francis, 2005.
  • Mountain, V., Children and the church, Melbourne: CRA, 2014.
  • Music, G., Nurturing natures UK; Psychology Press, 2011.
  • 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 (%)

3,000 word essay

3000 50.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

1,500 word tutorial report and oral presentation

1500 25.0

1,500 word response to scripture

1500 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 21 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-09-28 19:25:02 +1000