Abstract

This thesis explores the importance of introducing children to interfaith dialogue. Interfaith dialogue is most commonly used with adults and teenagers to bring diverse communities together and enable participants to resolve or avoid contention. Interfaith dialogue programs can be of significant value for younger participants in order to build understanding and avoid conflict from a young age, but there are few examples of interfaith dialogue programs for youth in the United States. I argue that it is important to engage children in interfaith dialogue, and focus on the abilities of fourth graders (eight-to-ten year olds) that enable them to actively and beneficially engage in structured interfaith dialogue programs. I look at research on interfaith dialogue, child development theory, and examine a fourth grade program called Poetry Pals as a case study. I also develop best practices for interfaith dialogue programs for children and discuss what would make an ideal program. Exposing children to interfaith dialogue in fourth grade is helpful because they are aware of interpersonal differences and are able to start to understand the perspectives of others. Eight-to-ten year olds are open-minded, curious, and verbal enough to engage in dialogue. The goal of my thesis is to create an understanding of the capabilities of children and to share why it is necessary to engage fourth graders in interfaith dialogue.

Advisor

Kammer, Charles

Department

Religious Studies

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Other Religion | Religion

Publication Date

2014

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2014 Abigail M. Harris-Ridker