Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The Australian Early Years Learning Framework, in line with contemporary understandings of childhood, recognises and supports the holistic nature of children's learning across a number of domains including the spiritual domain. This unit endorses the practices and principles of the Australian Early Years Learning Framework, in particular the spiritual dimension of learning and development. The unit investigates the nature of spiritual development and learning for the young child and the ways in which early years education can honour and extend young children's spirituality. It positions spirituality within relevant historical, religious, philosophical and theoretical approaches and consider the implications of these approaches for pedagogy and practice in both religious and non-religious settings of early learning.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Explain contemporary approaches to children and childhood alongside the importance of a focus on the spirituality domain in learning and development and apply this to their practice (GA4; APST 1.1, 2.1, 3.3; ACECQA A1, C2)

LO2 - Apply knowledge of historical, religious, philosophical and Indigenous ways of knowing to advocate for and support the spirituality of young children (GA4, GA5; APST 2.1, 3.5; ACECQA A1, C2, C5)

LO3 - Utilising current curriculum frameworks, theories and research of early development and learning, analyse and respond to young children’s spirituality in ways that account for socio-cultural diversity, individual and family differences (GA1, GA5; APST 1.1, 2.1, 2.4, 3.3, 7.1, 7.3; ACECQA A1, A4, C5)

LO4 - Rationalise and design a range of creative resources and strategies that promote awareness of Aboriginal spirituality, social justice, ecology and environmental sustainability and social and emotional well-being through spiritual practice (GA1, GA5; APST 1.1, 2.1, 2.4, 3.3, 7.1; ACECQA D1, D4)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.5 Demonstrate a range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student engagement.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A. Psychology and child development

A1. Leaning, development and care

A4. Child health, wellbeing and safety

C. Early childhood pedagogies

C2. Play-based pedagogies

C5. Catering to children with diverse needs and backgrounds

D. Families and community partnerships

D1. Developing family and community partnerships

D4. Socially inclusive practice


Topics will include:

  • contemporary understandings of children and childhood and the place of spirituality within the context of development and learning, care and education;
  • the nature of childhood spirituality including awe and wonder, connectedness, transcendence, and the search for meaning;
  • historical, religious, philosophical and theoretical approaches with relevance to spirituality in the early years;
  • the spiritual dimensions of young children’s lives and learning and implications for pedagogy in the early learning program; 
  • resources and strategies that promote awareness of Aboriginal spirituality, diversity and social justice, ecology and environmental sustainability and social and emotional well-being through spiritual practice.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students will engage in a variety of individual and group tasks to achieve the learning outcomes.

150 hours in total with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours becomes private study.


The teaching and learning organisation may take a number of forms, depending on specific course/subject requirements at the time of delivery, this may include a combination of face to face and/or online learning delivered on a weekly or intensive schedule. Tutorials and/or synchronous learning will enable students to participate in cooperative and supportive learning opportunities. All learning modes will be delivered and/or supported by a range of resources and activities on ACU’s technology learning platform (LEO). 


Mode: Attendance, Online, Multi-mode or intensive delivery through ‘In country’ or international experience.


Duration: 12 week semester or equivalent

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Design a presentation for parents and caregivers outlining the nature of young children’s spiritual learning and development and how this is nurtured in early years prior to school settings in ways that include Indigenous ways of knowing and respect the spiritual and religious diversity of all children. The presentation is to be accompanied by supporting notes and images, equivalent to 2,500 words.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2 

Series of planned learning experiences with resources and strategies that draw attention to one or more aspects of spirituality – awe and wonder, connectedness, transcendence, and the search for meaning, equivalent to 2,500 words


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5

Representative texts and references

Burarrwanga L. (2013). ‘Welcome to my country’. Allen & Unwin. Crows Nest. NSW.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, being & becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. Canberra: Author.

Godly Play

Grajczonek, J., & Ryan, M. (Eds.) (2013). Religious education in early childhood: A reader. (Rev. ed.). Brisbane, Qld: Lumino Press.

Grajczonek, J. (2012). Interrogating the spiritual as constructed in Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(1), 152-160.

Harris, K. (2013). Teacher, I had a dream: A glimpse of the spiritual domain of children using project-based learning. International Journal of Children’s Spirituality, 18(3), 281–293.

Harrison, C., & Nelson, C. (2017). Looking deeper: Play and the spiritual dimension. In S. Lynch, D. Pike, and C. à Beckett (Eds). Multidisciplinary perspectives on play from birth and beyond. Singapore: Springer.

Hyde, B. (2010). A dispositional framework in religious education: Learning dispositions and early years religious education. Journal of Beliefs & Values, 31(3), 261-269.

International Association for Children and Spirituality

Long, J. (2000). Spirituality and the idea of transcendence. International Journal of Children's Spirituality, 5(2), 147–161.

 Martin, K. (2016). Voices and visions. Southern Highlands: Pademelon Press. 

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