Advertisement

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

  • Jan GrajczonekEmail author
Chapter
  • 1.2k Downloads

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Early Childhood Religious Education Religious Diversity Catholic School Religious Freedom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn Catholic Education Office. (2011). Catholic early learning curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.ceocg.catholic.edu.au/schools/Documents/Catholic%20Early%20Learning%20Curriculum%20Document%202011.pdf
  2. Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., & Farmer, S. (2012). Programming & planning in early childhood settings (5th ed.). Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  3. Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Brisbane. (2013). P-12 religion curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.rec.bne.catholic.edu.au/Pages/Religious-Education.aspx
  4. Catholic Education, Diocese of Rockhampton. (2012). Spirituality in the early years. Rockhampton, QLD, Australia: Diocese of Rockhampton.Google Scholar
  5. Congregation for Catholic Education. (1988). The religious dimension of education in a Catholic school. Homebush, NSW, Australia: St Paul Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., & Pence, A. (2007). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Languages of evaluation (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. DEEWR. (2009). Belonging, being & becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. Retrieved from http://www.deewr.gov.au/Earlychildhood/Policy_Agenda/Quality/Documents/Final%20EYLF%20Framework%20Report%20-%20WEB.pdf.Google Scholar
  8. Doulin, P., Kelly, G., Lawson, E., Monro, J., Monro, T., Mavor, I., et al. (1987). Religious education teaching approaches. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: Curriculum Services Branch, Department of Education, Queensland.Google Scholar
  9. Grajczonek, J. (2011). Freedom to be, to belong, to become. Echoing the Word, 10(4). Retrieved from http://www.echoingtheword.com/index.shtml.
  10. Grajczonek, J. (2012). Acknowledging religious diversity and empowering young children’s agency and voice in the religion program. In L. Francis, R. Freathy, & S. Parker (Eds.), Religious education and freedom of religion and belief (pp. 235–252). Oxford, UK: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  11. Grajczonek, J. (2013). What do you say is effective early years religious education? Giving voice to early years educators in curriculum design. Unpublished report, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia.Google Scholar
  12. Keen, D., Pennell, D., Muspratt, S., & Poed, S. (2011). Teacher self-report on learner engagement strategies in the early years classroom. Australian Educational Researcher, 38, 293–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. MacNaughton, G. (2003). Shaping early childhood: Learners, curriculum and contexts. Berkshire, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  14. MacNaughton, G., & Williams, G. (2004). Techniques for teaching young children: Choices for theory and practice. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.Google Scholar
  15. Moran, G. (1991). Understanding religion and being religious. Professional approaches for Christian educators, 21, 249–252.Google Scholar
  16. National Catholic Education Commission, (2013). Australian Catholic schools 2012. Retrieved from http://www.ncec.catholic.edu.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=46&Itemid=53
  17. Queensland Studies Authority. (2006). The early years curriculum guidelines. Retrieved from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/p_10/ey_cg_06.pdf
  18. Shakespeare, W. (1600–1601). Hamlet. Retrieved from http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet_1_3.html
  19. Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Sylva, K. (2004). Researching pedagogy in English pre-schools. British Educational Research Journal, 30(5), 713–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. United Nations. (1959). The declaration of the rights of the child. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/humanrights/resources/child.asp.Google Scholar
  21. United Nations. (1989). United Nations convention on the rights of the child. Retrieved from http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/pdf/crc.pdf.Google Scholar
  22. Vygotsky, L. (1967). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education & ArtsAustralian Catholic UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations