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Open AccessArticle

Developmental Implications of Children’s Early Religious and Spiritual Experiences in Context: A Sociocultural Perspective

1
Department of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125, USA
2
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Religions 2019, 10(11), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110631
Received: 22 July 2019 / Revised: 1 November 2019 / Accepted: 2 November 2019 / Published: 15 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Religious and spiritual experiences have implications for many aspects of development across the lifespan, including during early childhood. A focus on religion and spirituality expands beyond a discrete domain of social science (e.g., cognitive development) and involves developmental, social-psychological, affective and emotional phenomena, and personality. This conceptual paper contributes to the literature regarding the understudied role of religion and spirituality in the lives of young children and their families in order to contribute to a comprehensive study of human development. After a concise review of the literature on religious development, this paper draws from the sociocultural perspective and illustrative examples of lived experiences to frame young children’s religious participation and gives particular consideration to religious minorities. While the sociocultural perspective captures the range of children’s experiences, this manuscript introduces the understudied role of emotion as a motivator for children’s selection of experiences. The paper concludes with implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research, practice, and policy. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; spirituality; religious socialization; early childhood; socio-cultural perspective religion; spirituality; religious socialization; early childhood; socio-cultural perspective
MDPI and ACS Style

Abo-Zena, M.M.; Midgette, A. Developmental Implications of Children’s Early Religious and Spiritual Experiences in Context: A Sociocultural Perspective. Religions 2019, 10, 631.

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