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The notion of spirituality as an ontological priority for children has become more prominent in academic literature in the past decade, not least due to its inclusion in the National Curriculum as part of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) education. This discussion posits that the outdoor environment provides a locus for the uncovering and nurture of spirituality in young children. Based on Goodliff’s three dimensions of spirituality – relation, creativity and reflection (2016), data gained from evaluations on children’s experiences as well as pertinent literature, draws attention to how each dimension is highlighted through learning outside. Furthermore, it is proposed that this learning environment also provides practitioners the opportunity to promote child agency, participation and voice. Recognizing that spirituality is a nebulous concept, and acknowledging the limitations of prior and current research, recommendations for practice in the Early Years setting are provided, with suggestions for ongoing research.


Ruth Wills

Professional Tutor

Ruth Wills is a Professional Tutor in Early Childhood at Liverpool Hope University. She also teaches part time in a Lancashire Primary School. Her first monograph Learning beyond the objective in Primary Education: philosophical perspectives...