While attending the Prizmah Jewish Day School Conference recently, I went to a session given by Dr. Lisa Miller, author of "The Spiritual Child." Dr. Miller shared current scientific research that shows supporting spirituality in children and adolescence can serve as one of the greatest protectors against substance abuse, major depressive disorders and abusive relationships, and those children are more likely to have positive markers for thriving and high levels of academic success.
As an early childhood educator and a parent of adolescents and teens, these findings felt especially significant and caused me to ponder questions like: How do we define spirituality? How do I help my children make spiritual connections? How can I support spirituality in the children I teach? What are some ways that parents can support the spiritual development in their children?
As all children are born innately spiritual, the children in the Early Childhood Program provide the morahs with many opportunities to support their spiritual growth. From observing a mother squirrel care for her babies (often seen on campus), to accepting their friends for who they are, to recognizing the wonder a nd awe of a budding flower, young children have such a natural tendency to connect with Hashem through every day experiences. As their educators, we pride ourselves on recognizing when we need to set aside our own plan and agenda to share in a spiritual moment, which could have a profound, lifelong effect on our children.
I am looking forward to learning much more from Dr. Lisa Miller when she is at Akiba on Thursday, April 20, at 7 p.m., as our Pollman Lecture Series speaker. You will not want to miss this opportunity to learn how we can nurture our children's spirits.
Director of the Early Childhood Program