Education & Development

Education & Development

Spirituality is in every child.

Every human being is born an innately spiritual being, just as we are cognitive, emotional, and physical beings. Basic science has shown that spirituality is one-third innate and two-third socialized, a birthright of every child which must be cultivated, supported, and nurtured in community to fully develop. In tandem with other lines of development, there is a surge of awakening of the spiritual life during adolescence, during which spiritual formation can be supported. We see through hundreds of peer review articles that a child is far less likely to fall prey to the most prevalent forms of suffering -- anxiety, depression, suicide, addiction -- once the spiritual core is built throughout the lifespan. The deepening of the spiritual core throughout childhood and adolescence allows us to transform suffering into post traumatic spiritual growth. This basic science does not tell us how best to support the spiritual core, but it is an ethical imperative of schools, parents, and the community to nurture each child’s innate spirituality to promote a life of greater thriving, health, and collective engagement, a greater capacity for ethics and relationship stewardship of nature. 

The work of applying the science of spirituality to K-12 education is channeled through The Collaborative for Spirituality in Education (CSE), an independent organization with its own Board of Trustees, which has made a series of grants to SMBI at Teachers College for the establishment in SMBI of a national hub of research, publication and professional convening for movement making. CSE is dedicated to nurturing the innate spiritual capacity of educators and students, which we support in four specific ways. First, CSE has developed the Awakened Schools Institute, which is a spiritually activating year-long course that combines groundbreaking scientific research and inclusive educational frameworks into useful tools for K-12 educators. Secondly, CSE, through the National Council on Spirituality in Education, provides a national platform which convenes the field of spirituality in education. The National Council offers large-scale gatherings such as our recent virtual conference, Cultivating the Spiritual Core, as well as our in person National Conference, which drew over 400 attendees in 2019 and doubled in our hybrid format hosted at Teachers College in 2022. CSE conducts research to better understand how children’s innate spirituality is supported in K-12 schools, which we share through academic and practitioner publications and conference presentations. As a national catlytic hub for higher education, CSE partnered with SMBI in convening the 2022 Awakened Campus Summit, combining our efforts and our work in supporting emerging adults through integrated campus wellness programs. CSE’s mission for education is viewed by SMBI and CSE’s Board of Trustees as fundamental to achieving the broad vision that guides the work of SMBI.

Renewing the American Democratic Faith

Collaborative for Spirituality in Education/CSE

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