The Spirit of the Child: An Exploration of Children’s Spirituality

This interdisciplinary conference will be held at the Waterford Institute of Technology (College St Campus) Waterford, from 12 – 14 May 2011. The keynote speaker will be Dr Rebecca Nye a leading figure in the “Godly Play” approach.

Dr. Nye has been working in the field of children’s spirituality as a researcher, consultant and practitioner since 1994. Since her landmark study of children’s talking about their spirituality in their own terms, (with David Hay), her work has been to address the neglect of children’s spirituality in traditional Christian nurture and education. She has been responsible for bringing “Godly Play” to this side of the Atlantic and promotes it as it both respects our childlike intuitive spirituality and develops the use of traditional spiritual language as the spirit of the child is nurtured.

In this conference, the intention is to explore, through the discipline of spirituality and from inter-disciplinary perspectives, childhood spirituality and take up the challenges this exploration poses for theology and pastoral practice. 

The conference is organised around Dr Nye’s address and five key presentations by Prof Annemie Dillen (Theology, KU Leuven), Prof Eamonn Conway (Theology, Mary Immaculate College, UL), Dr Fiachra Long (Education, UCC), Dr Gerard Condon (Spirituality, St Patrick’s College, Thurles), and Ms Aiveen Mullaly (Education, Marino College) who have been making serious research contributions to the theme in their own disciplines.

Call for Papers
In this roundtable conference, participants are expected to contribute ideas to this important theme which we hope will help us better understand children’s lives. The conference organisers are calling for papers from intending participants who are interested in making a formal presentation (15 to 20 minutes duration) on aspects of the theme of the conference. Please send a 300 word abstract to Ms Jacqui Quinn (jquinn@wit.ie)  by 5 pm, 12 April 2011.