How can schools better support development of the deep inner core of children in ways that will help them discover meaning and purpose in life, and cultivate their sense of responsibility for others and concern for the natural world? These questions are the focus of an upcoming conference at Teachers College, “The Next Wave in K-12 Education: The Spiritual Core of the Whole Child.”
Sponsored by the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education, with its research hub based at Teachers College, and the National Council on Spirituality in Education, the conference is based on the belief that schools of all kinds – public, independent, charter and religious – have a critical role to play in fostering spiritual and moral development in young people. It is also premised on the idea that nurturing and deepening the spiritual core of children are critical to academic success, wellbeing, psychological health, and preparing them to address the world’s social and environmental problems as adults.
Now, more than ever, in a culture where often enormous amounts of money, empty fame, and cynicism have become toxic dominant values, our children need us to support their quest for a spiritually grounded life.
“Now, more than ever, in a culture where often enormous amounts of money, empty fame, and cynicism have become toxic dominant values, our children need us to support their quest for a spiritually grounded life,” writes Lisa Miller, Professor of Psychology and Education and founding president of the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education.
“The Next Wave in K-12 Education” will be held at Teachers College on Sunday, November 3rd, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Monday, November 4th, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Participants may register here.)
The event builds on a 2015 conference convened by Miller, founder of TC’s Spirituality Mind Body Institute and a leader in documenting the science underlying the benefits of spirituality, which resulted in the founding of the NCSE. This year’s conference seeks to launch an inclusive, coordinated movement of the many disparate programs that have been working within schools to nurture the spiritual core of students, using different language and different techniques.
“Over the past 20 years there has been a growing national understanding that success and well-being require a ‘whole child’ approach to education,” says Karen Barth, Executive Director of the Collaborative on Spirituality in Education.
Over the past 20 years there has been a growing national understanding that success and well-being require a ‘whole child’ approach to education.
“Social emotional learning, mindfulness, character education, values education, restorative practices, and other related programs seek to address the needs of children in a more holistic way. While much progress is happening through these programs, many leaders and educators are looking at how this work can be deepened and intensified.”
In addition to Miller, author of The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, the conference’s headline speakers will include:
- The philanthropist Stephen C. Rockefeller, Middlebury College professor emeritus and former dean, who coordinated the drafting of the Earth Charter for the Earth Charter Commission and Earth Council.
- Timothy Shriver, co-founder and Chair of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and Chair of the International Board of Directors of Special Olympics;
- University of Toronto education professor John (Jack) Miller, author of The Holistic Curriculum and editor of The International Handbook of Holistic Education.
The conference will provide educators and other attendees with the opportunity to learn and interact with visionary leaders from public, private, charter and religious schools, along with researchers, practitioners, academics, foundations and funders on topics such as building positive school culture and climate, civics and citizenship, the teaching of “interconnectedness,” social and emotional learning, compassion education, and character development.
The cost of the two-day conference is $250 for participants, $125 for educators, and $25 for students. Participant and educator fees include meals.
The Collaborative for Spirituality in Education at Teachers College promotes spiritual and moral development within schools by helping educators build classrooms and schools that nurture their students’ inner lives. A sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Collaborative’s work includes research, seminars, work on culture and climate in schools, and participation in the National Council on Spirituality in Education, which is building a movement through conferences, social media and outreach.