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SPIRITUAL HEALTH EDUCATION

EXPLORING METHODS AND MATERIALS FOR INSTRUCTION

By: Delphine Rossi, M.S., CHES


OVERVIEW

Awakening the heart and soul of a child may be a bridge from spiritual despair to spiritual well-being for many children in our society. Indeed, there is now a greater recognition of the necessity of spiritual health in professional counseling, health care, and health education/promotion literature. And, spiritual health is acknowledged as a significant component to optimal health and wellbeing.

Yet, few health professionals address the spiritual health component as they conduct their education programs. Spiritual health may be considered a missing link, an essential component lacking in holistic health instruction.

Spiritual health and well-being may simply be defined as finding meaning, seeking peace, and having faith in the process of life. It encompasses a belief in a higher reality, a great spirit, or God, and includes attributes such unconditional love, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, hope, compassion, and trust.

Spirit, in its Latin root, means breath of life and denotes a life-giving essence, an inner energy. Spirit is an inseparable part of our being as, indeed, we are body, mind, and spirit interrelated. The inclusion of spiritual health education within professional practices remains tenuous because of the religious connotations it evokes.

As much as spirituality and religion intertwine, they are distinctively different. This overview will enable health professionals in the fields of counseling and education to become familiar with methods and materials to develop and enhance spiritual health education programs.

The purpose of Spiritual Health Education: Exploring Methods and Materials for Instruction is to enable health-related professionals to become familiar with various instructional tools, methods, and literature they may utilize to create or enhance programs in spiritual health and well-being.


SPIRITUAL HEALTH EDUCATION
INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS

* ART

* JOURNALING

* LITERATURE

* MOVIES/VIDEOS

* MOVEMENT such as YOGA, TAI CHI, and DANCE

* MUSIC

* NATURE/OUTDOORS

* PORTFOLIOS

* SERVICE LEARNING PROJECTS

* VISUALIZATION, GUIDED IMAGERY, and EXPERIENTIAL ACTIVITIES


SPIRITUAL HEALTH EDUCATION LEARNER-CENTERED
INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES

COOPERATIVE LEARNING: students work in small groups to increase their understanding of a particular issue, concept and /or question, culminating in a completed lesson or project. Benefits: develops communication skills among students; enables students to understand each other more fully; allows students to share individual skills to create a successful project.

CREATIVE PROJECTS: students select topics of choice and individually create/design projects by writing essays, stories and poems, making posters, collages, booklets, pamphlets, videos, and performing musicals and plays. Benefits : expression of individual interests and creativity, in depth study of specific topic, and sharing talents with peers.

FIELD TRIPS: students visit a facility outside the school to gain knowledge, understanding, and experience. Benefits : experiential learning, increased knowledge, and opportunity for interaction with others.

GROUP PROCESS SKILLS: students experience a variety of learner-centered activities to understand how groups operate and how to become productive, effective group members including trust walks, tell me statements, paraphrasing, fishbowls, cooperation games, and inclusion games. Benefits: familiarity with and trust among students, listening and communication skills, cooperation, decision-making skills, appreciation of similarities and differences among peers, and awareness and understanding of feelings of self and others.

GUEST SPEAKERS: allows students to gain knowledge and understanding from the expertise of various qualified individuals and professionals. Benefits : knowledge from expertise of speaker, increased interest from life experiences, and new insight/perspectives.

JOURNALING: students write thoughts, values, and experiences in their journals noting their progression, understanding, and growth on a personal level. Benefits : focuses on individual growth, increases understanding of experiences, and enables students to verbalize experiences and discover more meaning.

LECTURE/DISCUSSION: teacher presentation of materials with student interaction. Benefits : knowledge, understanding, clarification, listening to others’ opinions, affirming personal thoughts, and explore possibilities.

ROLE-PLAYING: students are given roles within a scenario and act them out according to the script or spontaneously demonstrating positive and negative consequences of personal decisions. Benefits: awareness of the importance of responsible decision making skills and consequences for choices, and an awareness that we have choices.

SERVICE LEARNING: students learn and develop skills through active participation in well organized service experiences that benefit both the recipients and the students. Benefits: increased problem solving ability, increased social and personal interaction, increased self efficacy and self-esteem, increased open mindedness, and increased empathy.

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS: students work in small groups to discuss a topic or issue. Benefits : students practice skills in effective communication and listen to different points of view.

VALUES CLARIFICATION ACTIVITIES: students are provided with opportunities to become aware of their values and determine whether revisions are necessary. Benefits : awareness of the interrelationship of our values to our health related decisions and behaviors.


A SAMPLE OF SUGGESTED SPIRITUAL HEALTH EDUCATION LITERATURE
FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN

Andersen, H.C. The Little Match Girl. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1990.

________. Ugly Duckling. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1979.

________. Thumbelina. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1979.

Baum, L.F. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1993.

Bennett, W. J. The Children’s Book of Virtues. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Berger, B. Grandfather Twilight. New York: Putman & Grosset Group, 1984.

Bulla, C.R. A Place for Angels. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1995.

Burnett, F.H. A Little Princess. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1988.

________. The Secret Garden. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1988.

Carle, E. The Mixed up Chameleon. 1984.

________. The Very Quiet Cricket. New York: Putman & Grosset Group, 1990.

Christelow, E. Five Dog Night. New York: Clarion Books, 1993.

Cooper, M. I Got a Family. 1993.

DeVeaux, A. Enchanted Hair Tale. 1987.

Dickens, C. A Christmas Carol. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1988.

Disney Productions. Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Lion King.

Grimm, J. Hansel & Gretel. 1987.

Hazen, B. Even If I Did Something Awful. 1981.

Jassem, K. Pocahontas, Girl of Jamestown. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1979.

Jenness, A. (1993). Come home with me: a multicultural treasure hunt.

Knowles, S. Edward the Emu. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1990.

London, J. The Call of the Wild. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1990.

Loomans, D. The Loveables in the Kingdom of Self Esteem. California: H.J. Kramer, Inc., 1991.

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables. New York: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, 1983.

Mosley, F. The Dinosaur Eggs. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1988.

Munsch, R. Love You Forever. Ontario: Firefly Books, 1997.

O’Shaughnessy, E. Somebody Called Me a Retard Today and My Heart Felt Sad. 1992.

Piper, W. The Little Engine That Could. 1961.

Sewell, A. Black Beauty. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1993.

Spyri, J. Heidi. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1988.

Weyn, S. Forever Angels Series. New Jersey: Troll Communications, 1995-1997.

Wilder, Laura . Little house on the prairie. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1971.

Williams, M. The Velveteen Rabbit. New York: Doubleday, 1975.


A SAMPLE OF SUGGESTED SPIRITUAL HEALTH EDUCATION FILMS
FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN

A Christmas Carol Oliver & Company
A Little Princess Pinocchio
Bambi Pocahontas
Balto Robin Hood
Beauty and the Beast Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Black Beauty Sleeping Beauty
Cinderella Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Fox and the Hound The Lion King
Free Willy I and II The Secret Garden
Homeward Bound I and II The Sword in the Stone
Lassie : Best Friends are Forever The Wizard of Oz
Miracle on 34th Street

A SAMPLE OF SUGGESTED SPIRITUAL HEALTH EDUCATION LITERATURE
FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL

Anonymous. Go Ask Alice. 1971.

Bach, Richard. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. New York: The MacMillan Co., 1970.

Bauer, M. On My Honor. 1986.

Christopher, M. Catch That Pass. 1969.

Cleaver, V. & B. Where the Lilies Bloom. 1969.

Edwards, N. Stand and Deliver. 1989.

Fox, P. Stone Faced Boy. 1968.

Ferris, J. Relative strangers. 1993.

Guest, J. Ordinary people. 1976.

Kay, T. To Dance with the White Dog. 1994.

Kerr, M.E. If I Love You Am I Trapped Forever? 1973.

Klein, N. Just Friends. 1990.

Kropp, P. Amy’s Wish. 1986.

Levy, E. Cheater, Cheater. 1993.

Marshall, P. Daughters. 1992.

Rochman, H. & McCampbell, D. Who Do You Think You Are? Stories of Friends and Enemies. 1993.

Slote, A. Friends Like That. 1990.

Sullivan, T. If You Could See What I Hear. 1975.

White, E. Life Without Friends. 1987.

Wilkie, K. Helen Keller: From Tragedy to Triumph. 1969.


A SAMPLE OF SUGGESTED SPIRITUAL HEALTH EDUCATION FILMS
FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL

A Christmas Carol Homecoming
Alaska It’s A Wonderful Life
Angels in the Outfield Jungle to Jungle
Anne of Avonlea

Mrs. Doubtfire

Anne of Green Gables Sarah Plain and Tall
Babe Savannah Smiles
Benji Spirit of the Eagle
Born Free Swiss Family Robinson
Clara’s Heart The Amazing Panda Adventure
Diary of Anne Frank The Miracle Worker
Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog The Sound of Music
Fly Away Home White Fang
Heidi

A SAMPLE OF SUGGESTED SPIRITUAL HEALTH EDUCATION LITERATURE
FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Bess, Stacey. Nobody Don’t Love Nobody: Lessons on Love from the School with No Name. Nevada: Gold Leaf Press, 1994.

Branden, Nathaniel. Honoring the Self. New York: Bantam Books 1989.

________. The Power of Self Esteem. Florida: Health Communications, 1992.

Brennan, Barbara Ann. Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing through the Human Energy Field. New York: Bantam Books, 1987.

Canfield, Jack and Mark Hanson. Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit. Florida: Health Communications, Inc., 1993.

Chopra, D. (1995). The Way of the Wizard: Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Want. New York: Crown Publishers, 1995.

Coles, Robert. The Spiritual Life of Children. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

Covey, S. Spiritual Roots of Human Relations. Utah: Desert Books, 1970.

Dossey, Larry. Prayer is Good Medicine. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Eadie, Betty J. Embraced by the Light. New York: Bantam Books, 1992.

Ferrini, Paul. The Silence of the Heart. Massachusetts: Heartways Press, 1996.

Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning. New York: Pocket Books, 1984.

Garbardino, J. Children in Danger: Coping with the Consequences of Community Violence. San Francisco: JosseyBass Publishers, 1992.

Girzone, Joseph. Joshua. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987.

Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ. New York: Bantam Books, 1995.

Jampolsky, Gerald and Diane Cirincione. Love is the Answer. New York: Bantam Books, 1990.

Myss, Caroline. Anatomy of the Spirit. New York: Random House, 1996.

Peale, Norman The Amazing Result of Positive Thinking. New York: Random House, 1959.

Peck, M.S. The Road Less Traveled. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.

________. The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.

________. Further Along the Road Less Traveled: The Unending Journey toward Spiritual Growth. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

________. The Road Less Traveled: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

Roman, S. Spiritual Growth: Being your Higher Self. New York: H.J. Kramer, Inc., 1989.

Seligman, Martin. Learned Optimism. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

________. The Optimistic Child. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Wholey, Dennis. The Miracle of Change: The Path to Self Discovery and Spiritual Growth. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

Young-Eisendrath, P. The Resilient Spirit. Massachusetts: Addison Wesley, 1996.

Author Bio: Delphine Rossi, M.S., CHES, is the coordinator of the School Health Education Program at Utah State University. She has extensive experience in the public schools teaching Health Education K-12.



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