Spirituality, Ritual and Prayer in the Jewish Early Childhood Classroom

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Course ID: Jewish Education 40230-OL
Division: Undergraduate Studies, Graduate Studies
Program: Jewish Education (Undergraduate), Jewish Education (Graduate)
Location: Currently Offered, Online

The search for spiritual meaning begins in the earliest years of life. In this course, the expression of spirituality in Judaism as well as current theories of faith and spiritual development will be discussed to provide essential background knowledge for students who wish to facilitate this search for young children, their families, for colleagues, and for themselves. As such, this information will be primarily descriptive rather than definitive, and will be used to explore meaningful experiences in prayer and ritual, as well as maximizing the spiritual content of daily life in the early childhood classroom. The daily service will be examined for content that is relevant to young children, and appropriate as well as authentic methods for presenting this content will be discussed. Criteria for evaluating publications of ritual and prayer experiences for young children in Jewish contexts will be developed, using the daily service as a platform. As a culmination, the Shabbat experience will be explored in order to allow students to synthesize their own prayer and ritual experiences for young children. Throughout the course, we will discuss methods of addressing issues that arise for adults (teachers and parents) when exploring spirituality, ritual and prayer. The role of Israel in prayer and ritual will also be highlighted. Finally, spirituality, ritual and prayer will be considered for their power in inspiring a sense of community within the early childhood program setting for adults and children alike.