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St Nicolas' Church of England Infant School

Living life in all its fullness

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St Nicolas' Church of England Infant School

Living life in all its fullness

Spirituality and Spiritual Development

Our Latest Spiritual Development Enhancements in the School Grounds

At St Nics’, we believe it is important to give children space to develop their own faith, beliefs and values to develop their own spirituality (without adults giving ‘the answers’ all the time).


Our Christian ethos and vision influence all we do, but we are very careful to ensure this is done in an invitational way, without any compulsion to take part in prayers unless the child chooses to. We believe it is vital to teach children to be respectful of different ideas and beliefs, and to listen to new ideas and think them through before making up their mind about what they believe. We provide the skills and opportunities for children to explore areas of spirituality, so that they can develop spiritually as well as emotionally and academically.


In our school, ‘spirituality’ means:


Reflection ~ We encourage deep thinking and wondering about life, including reflecting on our own beliefs and provide a rich curriculum with frequent opportunities for experiencing awe, wonder and fascination in all areas of learning as well as an appreciation and enjoyment of nature.


Respect ~ We place a great emphasis on respecting and appreciating the beliefs and perspectives of others as well as respect for ourselves and for the world. We provide opportunities across the curriculum for children to be inspired by the lives of others, particularly those who highlight diversity in our society and who may challenge preconceptions and cause us to think more deeply and reflectively.


Relationships ~ We believe in the benefits of developing healthy, understanding relationships between ourselves and others and create an environment where children and adults feel safe and happy learning together. We have a focus on emotional literacy, to enable children to think more deeply about their own experiences and emotions and to develop a healthy self-image.


Responding ~ We know that in order to enable children to process new concepts and embed learning, they need time to respond. This happens in a wide variety of ways, for instance: quiet, reflective time in the classroom or playground Peace Corner; reading a Bible or other book; through creative arts  (visual artwork, music, dance or drama); in discussion with adults or peers; by asking and seeking answers to their questions; by spending time in nature; through physical activity; by taking part in activities that benefit others (fundraising or collecting items to donate to a charity, writing messages of support or encouragement, making signs or posters, making video messages for other classes; or by joining or launching a campaign to make a change).


Our Spiritual Development Aims*

Through a love of learning,

“Wise people are always learning, always listening for more” Proverbs 18:15

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Demonstrate curiosity and open mindedness when exploring life’s big questions.

• Exercise imagination and creativity, appreciate beauty in the world and be alive to experiences of awe and wonder.


By having a sense of unity,

“Love is what holds you together in perfect unity” Colossians 3:14

Spiritual Development Aims:

  • Be self-aware and empathise with the experience of others in the school and wider community.
  • To help children to recognise that forgiving each other is at the heart of positive relationships.


Understanding right and wrong,

“Speak up and judge fairly. Defend the rights of the poor and needy” Proverbs 31:9

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Be ready to say sorry when mistakes are made, to forgive themselves and to forgive others.

• Be guided by their beliefs and values and be willing to take a stand to defend them.


Being able to persevere through life’s challenges

“Happy is the person who doesn’t give up” James 1:12      

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Be willing to take risks and to reflect, learn and grow following experiences of failure as well as success.

• Be guided by their beliefs and values and be willing to take a stand to defend them.


With dignity and respect for ourselves and others

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good” Titus 2:7

Spiritual Development Aims:

• Appreciate and be thankful for what is good in life and show generosity towards others.

• Be comfortable with stillness and silence and open to engage in reflection/meditation/prayer.


And with hope for the future and all that it brings.

“Be joyful because you have hope” Romans 12:12

Spiritual Capacities Aims:

• Love themselves, care for themselves, believe in their potential to achieve, and find inner strength and resilience when facing challenges.

• Be intrigued by mystery and be open to an awareness of the spiritual aspects of life.


* David Smith notes a number of human capacities commonly identified as related to spiritual development, which he calls ‘Spiritual Capacities’. We have called them our Spiritual Development Aims. These run alongside the academic aspects of our curriculum, to provide a ‘whole person’ approach, aiming to meet the academic, personal and spiritual needs of our school community.


Monitoring and Evaluating Spirituality

Spiritual development can’t be measured in the same way as other areas of learning because it is ongoing throughout life and not linear, it will have natural peaks and troughs throughout our lives. However, it is important to us to ensure that what we do is effective and continue to seek ways to further enrich the experiences we provide our school community.


We monitor and evaluate the opportunities offered to the people in our school by:

  • Observing and listening to children
  • Discussion at staff and governor meetings alongside the Christian vision and values
  • Sharing of classroom work and practice
  • Ensuring staff have a clear understanding of what spirituality means in our school (through induction packs and staff training)
  • Evidence in children’s work
  • Staff training and sharing good practice with other schools
  • Looking at what children do in response to opportunities (do they engage? Do they think deeply? Do they ask and answer big questions?)


We continually review and reflect on what is in our curriculum and approach that develops spirituality and what impact these opportunities have (academic opportunities, engagement, keenness to be at school, and personal development for both children and adults). Spiritual development is a thread across the whole curriculum and not just collective worship and RE.


  • Links with the Church (regular services both in school time and on special Sundays, clergy involvement in school, frequent school contributions to church displays)
  • Forest School
  • Gardening Clubs, Eco Therapy, ELSA
  • Pause Days (RE and RSHE)
  • Extra-curricular enrichment (what do we choose to include: after school clubs, visits, visitors, gardening club)
  • Prayer spaces
  • Collective Worship
  • Reflection Station
  • Peace Corners (in classrooms and in the playground)
  • Children’s suggestions for fundraising, etc.



The Impact of Spiritual Development

Our commitment to the whole person includes a thread of spiritual development which results in children who can think beyond themselves and their immediate environment, to consider abstract concepts and life’s big questions. Children learn to apply their learning and consider the views and beliefs of others to come to their own understanding of the mysteries of life. Our children leave us with the ability to think deeply and an appreciation of the benefits of taking time to reflect on concepts and issues. They develop a love and care for our beautiful world and the people in it and a strong sense of their power to make a difference.