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Spirituality Expressed in Creative Learning: Young Children’s Imagining Play as Space for Mediating Their Spirituality

Historically underpinning principles of the English curriculum framework for children from birth to five years explicitly acknowledged a spiritual dimension to children’s uniqueness and well-being. Yet spirituality receives scant reference in the discourse of creative learning and teaching. This paper considers the relationship of spirituality to creativity and argues for a greater attentiveness to children’s spirituality in early childhood education that acknowledges its presence in expression of children’s thinking, creating and imagining. Located within an interpretive paradigm, this ethnographic study of children aged two and three years in a day nursery in England, explores how they express spirituality. A hermeneutic approach underpins the analysis and interpretation of the data. Findings reveal how in imaginative play, most often recognised in the early years curriculum as part of creative development, young children show a capacity for expressing meaning-making and negotiating identity, key dimensions of the spiritual in childhood.