“To Thine Own Self Be True”: Respecting Both Religious Diversity and Religious Integrity in Contemporary Australian Early Childhood Religious Education

  • Jan GrajczonekEmail author


The place of early childhood education in Australia is an increasingly significant area as demonstrated by the publication of Australia’s first national early years curriculum document, Belonging, Being & Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (henceforth EYLF) (DEEWR, 2009). The same significance is also reflected in diocesan Catholic education offices as demonstrated by their provision of increasing numbers of early childhood settings. In addition to paying attention to national and state government curriculum documents such as EYLF, religious institutions have had to consider theory regarding the nature and purpose of religious education in such settings. When compared with primary and secondary religious education, early childhood religious education is a relatively recent inclusion in the Australian context. Contemporary classrooms and early childhood settings in Catholic institutions and schools reflect Australia’s diverse population, and religious educators face an additional challenge within the curriculum design: respecting the religious diversity of students in early years but also at the same time respecting and remaining true to the religious integrity and identity of the institution. This chapter highlights some tensions and their implications associated with Australian early childhood Catholic Religious Education. It contributes to the fledgling area of early childhood religious education theory by suggesting that the nature and purpose of religious education in early childhood be informed and shaped by contemporary early childhood education theory. This in turn contributes to the development of a religious education programme that is both true to its context and to the rich diversity of students in Australia.


Early Childhood Religious Education Religious Diversity Catholic School Religious Freedom 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education & ArtsAustralian Catholic UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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