Spiritual Needs & Faith Development

Spiritual Needs

First and Second Graders need to feel secure in God’s love. Help them learn to love God and desire to serve and follow Him in all aspects of life.

Third and Fourth Graders need to be stimulated to desire to know God and embrace His free gift of unconditional love and eternal life.

Fifth and Sixth Graders need to understand the importance of submitting their life to God. It is important to make the Bible applicable and approachable to them.

Faith Development

James Fowler has suggested that there are a series of developing stages in the life of individuals. These stages effect the way in which the child views not only the world, but also God. There are six stages but at Tilikum Day Camp we deal primarily with two.

Stage 1 - Intuitive-Projective faith

Many of our first graders and some of our second graders will be in this stage. Some will have already progressed to stage two.

Summarizing Fowler, the key issues of this stage are imagination and egocentrism. The child’s world view is very much centered around self and an imagination that does not have the logic to totally distinguish between reality and make believe. Stories are a powerful tool but care needs to be taken to make sure that it is not overloaded with fearful imagery. Moving from stage 1 to stage 2 involves a struggle to distinguish between imagination and reality.

Stage 2 - Mythic-Literal faith

Most of our kids will be at this stage. Some will be transitioning from this stage to stage three.

To summarize Fowler, in Stage 2 we find a shift from the uninhibited imagination of Stage 1 to a more ordered and structured understanding of the world. Stage 2 children have a more linear understanding of the way the world works. The children find a lot of meaning from stories and other “symbolic and dramatic material.” (Fowler p. 149) However, they have a lot of trouble drawing out the meaning from the story. The story has meaning to them but the meaning often remains contained within the story and unapplied to life. These children struggle with “works righteousness” and legalism. Some even experience deep feelings of low self worth. It is crucial to uphold the worth of the children, emphasizing the unconditional love of God.

Adapted from James W. Fowler’s Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning, published in San Francisco by Harper SanFrancisco Publishing in 1981.