Arigatou International – Geneva in collaboration with Pastoral da Criança has successfully conducted the first-ever training of trainers workshop on the Toolkit: Nurturing the Spiritual Development of Children in the Early Years. The workshop took place at the Museu da Vida in Curitiba, Brazil from the 8th to the 12th of May, 2023.
The Toolkit was developed by the Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence and was launched in Rome, in 2022. The Toolkit aims to help equip faith actors, parents, caregivers, educators and community members to actively engage in the promotion of children’s well-being by nurturing spiritual development in the early years and to address violence in early childhood. This workshop was designed to empower participants with the essential tools and knowledge to cascade these capacities within their organizations.
The group of participants included ten members of Pastoral da Criança, and four members of Fraternity – International Humanitarian Federation (FIHF), who work in various humanitarian settings across Brazil. Among the participants were Catholic Sisters, community leaders and parish coordinators, as well as technical staff from the organizations.
This was a very unique workshop, not only because of its inaugural status but also for the innovative way in which was rolled out using digital tools. Through the use of their app, Pastoral da Criança can reach families and communities in remote areas. Their app, available online and offline, provides material for families to download and access as well as a space for facilitators and trainers to upload reporting, updates and seek help from the technical team of Pastoral da Criança.
Throughout the sessions, participants were able to connect the content of the Toolkit with the contexts in which they work and gain practical skills to directly implement it with beneficiaries such as parents, caregivers, and educators. Moreover, they will be able to train other adults to become facilitators of the Toolkit.
During the discussion on early childhood and children’s holistic development, participants were prompted to reflect on their own childhood experiences. This led to a sense of gratitude towards the adults who played a significant role in their upbringing. One participant shared, «My parents were the foundation for everything. Despite being illiterate, my mother placed great importance on our education, and I feel deeply grateful for this.»
Participants explored the connection between their spirituality and nature. One participant shared her strong bond with Mother Earth and her indigenous roots, and how this is linked to her understanding of spirituality. After reflecting on how we are all interconnected, participants expressed a great sense of gratitude toward others.
The session on the importance of creating empowering experiences for children led participants to reflect on the different ways they can create opportunities for children. “We must allow them to become protagonists,” a participant highlighted.
Guided by the expertise of Arigatou International, in conjunction with Ms. Carol Dalabona, National Coordinator, and Ms. Priscila do Rocio Costa, both from Pastoral da Criança, the sessions unfolded with great interest and enthusiasm from the participants.
The Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence is comprised of 22 partners from faith-based and civil society organizations, religious and spiritual communities, academia, multilateral organizations and individual experts.
The Toolkit was developed as part of a four-year process and collaboration as a contribution to the protection of children from violence and for the promotion of their holistic well-being.
We’re delighted to witness the Toolkit coming to life through this hands-on training, and we look forward to seeing the positive influence it will bring to communities throughout Brazil.