Spiritual and moral development for a child is about the mental attitude of the child over moral matters. It helps children deal with challenging experiences, such as the death of a loved one. It teaches them right from wrong, and helps them learn to respect others.
In an early years setting, Religious Studies would teach children about spirituality and morality. Religious Studies gives a child a better understanding of who they are, giving the child a sense of security and confidence. By understanding who they are, children are able to make decisions about their own lives. For example, what clothes they want to wear or what they look for in a friend.
Teaching religious Studies is important in supporting a child’s moral and spiritual development as it reduces stereotypes and labelling by teaching them about other cultures and religions, challenging discrimination. It also helps them understand their feelings and helps them to recognise the feelings and achievements of others.
Spiritual and moral development encourages good relationships, co-operation, empathy and self-awareness. It helps children develop self-discipline and helps them understand the consequences of their actions. As well as helping them develop their own views and thoughts.
As an early years practitioner you must behave morally correct for the children to follow your example as children imitate and learn behaviour from others who are significant to them. To support children’s moral and spiritual development it is essential for the early years practitioner to praise and encourage the children’s healthy behaviour.
You should encourage children to tell the truth, keep promises, respect others, care for the less fortunate, and to accept responsibility for their own actions. Behaviour like bullying, lying, cruelty, irresponsibility, and selfishness should be discouraged.
Another way in which an early years practitioner could support a child’s moral and spiritual development would be to get them to reflect over past experiences, ask them why they behaved a certain way, how that may have made other feel, and what they could have done differently.
Then again a child might not be particularly interested in this so you could do this more creatively by getting the children to express their thoughts, beliefs or feelings through music, art or poetry.
In conclusion, an early years practitioners role in supporting children’s moral and spiritual development is to provide them with encouragement and praise for good behaviour and to be a good role model to them by setting a good example.