When the Education of the Soul Dropped Out of the Discussion

Whereas up to approximately the 1900’s the purpose of education had been to educate the soul, with the turn of the century and the birth of scientific determinism[1] the education of the soul dropped out of the public discourse and was replaced with a “scientific” emphasis on the socialization of children; how to prepare model citizens; and how to measure learning.  Other brilliant educational theorists have emerged in the 20th century, but they do not write about educating the soul.   Separation of church and state has eliminated almost all mention of even the word God in public schools.  Prayer is banned at graduations and Christmas is now a winter holiday.  Concern about the education of the soul is entirely relegated to religious schools.   If Comenius, Pestalozzi, Froebel, or Montessori were to reincarnate today, they would probably consider mankind has taken a step backward in regard to soul development in spite of our modern technological advances.

Even so, women, children and education have come a long way.  Today, we can clearly see evidence of the three pivotal, life changing ideas about children introduced and reinforced by these early educators–childhood as a distinct time of life; the significant role of the mother (and now father); and universal education for all.   That childhood is an important time of development is not questioned.  Education is universal, although not always of high quality.   In the U.S. and in other countries as well, we now have universal public education for K-12 with complete separation of church and state.  In addition, many governments provide funding for the education of special needs children up to the age of emancipation.

In addition to “mothering”, mothers now have the added opportunity (and responsibility) of bringing income to the family as they pursue unlimited opportunities for career goals.  Because, in most industrialized societies, the education of our youngest children is now mostly in day care settings of some type and not in the home with their mothers, the role of first teacher, the mother, has been mostly taken over by others; often by poorly paid women with little professional respect working with high turnover in these child care facilities. Teachers of all grades, in general, are not well paid and the profession does not attract the best and the brightest. Time and change march on and not necessarily in the right direction. It remains to be seen where the next generation will go. (Excerpted from Educating the Reincarnated Child)

In my latest book, prior to this excerpt, I introduce to the reader the legacy of Comenius, Pestalozzi, Froebel and Montessori who were truly inspired educators.  I propose to you that their writings need to be dusted off and studied by serious students of education.  In Educating the Reincarnated Child, I give you a snapshot of their genius, and encourage you to delve further into their legacy.

Dr. Celeste A. Miller


[1] Scientific determinism:  Since every event in nature has a cause or causes that account for its occurrence, and since human beings exist in nature, human acts and choices are as determined as anything else in the world. Notes on Determinism and Indeterminism. Philosophy Department, Texas A & M

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