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Scripture Union has responded broadly favourably to The Primary Review interim report expressing deep anxiety about the condition of childhood today and the society and world in which children are growing up.
Supporting this view, Alan Charter, Head of Evangelism at Scripture Union, and Director of the children’s advocacy movement, Children Matter!, says that we have drifted to a place where there is too much emphasis on the academic, while underplaying important creative and caring abilities, that include imagination and play.
Not only this, but society is losing sight of the innate spirituality in children, and our responsibility to nurture this.
‘The narrow constraints of our education targets don’t sufficiently embrace the creative and spiritual aspects of children and young people’s development,’ says Alan. ‘It is time to take stock, when the way we have structured things creates deep anxiety in children. Fuelled by consumerism and self-orientation, our dissatisfaction levels, focus on what we haven’t got, rather than celebrate what we have’.
‘Our approach should be holistic. We should be about encouraging whole person development by nurturing our children, and equipping them well to be future leaders of tomorrow’s society.’
Alan points to the way Scripture Union’s programme of residential holidays and other events like children’s holiday clubs provide a wide experience of the creative – in arts, drama, music, dance, crafts, sport and outdoor pursuits – and the spiritual.
‘Different children benefit from different elements in our programmes, but they’re broad enough to cater for a wide experience,’ says Alan. ‘As Christians we believe the spiritual nurture of children is vitally important, and we need this, as well as the social, emotional and physical sides of child development.
‘When the full report is published next year, it will add to the plethora of reports on these issues. We must ask ourselves what does it need to turn these wake-up calls into action?’
The Cambridge-based Primary Review held 87 discussions with 750 community representatives, employers, religious leaders, parents, governors, heads, teachers and children in different parts of England. Today’s children, they felt, are being forced to grow up too soon, and the prospects for the society and world they will inherit look increasingly perilous.
Scripture Union is an international mission movement working with churches in more than 130 countries to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to children, young people and families, and to encourage them to develop spiritually through the Bible and prayer.
For more information, please direct inquiries to Richard Wells, Head of Advocacy and Communication.
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