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Can faith in God begin early in a child's life? Yes, but both the faith community and the family must be involved in the nurturing process. This book shows how the spiritual life of a child develops and how caring parents and teachers can enhance this development.
Understanding how a child's faith forms is crucial to knowing how adults can most significantly enhance the child's spiritual development. This book provides parents, teachers, and Christian education leaders with valuable insights into spiritual formation during childhood.
With a biblical perspective as a starting point and a recognition of the crucial role of both the family and the faith community, Stonehouse reviews important contributions from noted child development experts Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and James Fowler. This overview gives insight into the processes of psychosocial, cognitive, and moral development in children and adolescents.
Stonehouse concludes with solid guidelines for designing children's ministries. By carefully "setting the stage" through liturgy, sacred stories, and parables, Christian educators can help children meet with God. Quiet times of "godly play," carefully adapted to the age level of the child, enable adults to join with children on the journey toward deeper intimacy with God.
Catherine Stonehouse (PhD, Michigan State University), prior to her retirement, served as the Orlean Bullard Beeson Professor of Christian Discipleship and dean of the School of Practical Theology at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. She continues to serve Asbury as an adjunct professor. She is the author of Patterns in Moral Development and has had extensive experience directing Christian education at both the local and denominational levels.