Researchers in China and England are working together to consider how spirituality can support young children’s holistic learning and wellbeing.

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Researchers Fengling Tang at the University of Roehampton, England is working in collaboration with Juan Zhao from Hebei University, China to explore the role of spirituality in supporting young children’s holistic learning and wellbeing in Chinese and English contexts.

"It is important to create safe learning environment and space, where children feel safe to speak, talk and express their feelings, wonderments, confusions and puzzlement about nature, faith, religion and the unknown aspects in their lives."
Fengling Tang, Project leader

The researchers in this project are considering:

  • What does spirituality mean to young children, practitioners and parents in Chinese and English contexts?
  • What provisions are on offer in Chinese kindergartens and English early years settings to support young children’s spiritual development?
  • How does spirituality support young children’s holistic learning and wellbeing?
  • How do educators and parents/ carers see challenges and obstacles in practising spiritual education in Chinese and English contexts?

"Spiritual development encourages children’s deeper understanding of themselves and empathy for others and helps children gain appreciation of the wider impact their behaviour and actions have upon themselves, other people and the world itself. Not addressing spirituality in early childhood settings deprives children of a significant learning experience."
Fengling Tang, Project leader

A final report is expected in 2024 and key findings will be published here.

Dr Fengling Tang presented the initial findings of the research project at the 2023 Froebel Trust Online Conference.