Worldview Education Is for Everyone
One of the tensest moments I faced as a teacher involved comparative worldview education. I had just begun my third-year teaching Foundation Comparative Worldview Curriculum. Things were going great. The students were engaged and were growing in their ability to think critically. Parents were thrilled! At least most parents were.
On this particular day, one set of parents stormed into the school. They were irate that I had exposed their daughter to the beliefs of other worldviews. They claimed “This type of instruction is not developmentally appropriate! It should be held off until high school!”
You might be thinking the same thing. Isn’t it better to wait until our children are more mature before we instruct them regarding other worldviews? That is a great question! Here are three reasons why comparative worldview education is essential in the elementary years.
1. Critical Thinking Skills Are Formed in the Mid-Elementary Years
Critical thinking skills begin to develop when children are eight-to-ten years old. During this phase, children begin to consider perspectives outside of their own, compare and contrast different ideas, and formulate logical arguments. This is the prime age for starting comparative worldview instruction, as it allows us to guide the formation of our children’s thinking patterns. If we hold off on such instruction until they are in high school, their habits of thinking will be so deeply ingrained that much of our teaching will need to be reformative. The mid-elementary years are the prime developmental age for comparative worldview education.
2. Like It or Not, The World Is Calling
We live in a secular culture that is actively pursuing our children. Advertisers spend an average of $12 billion per year marketing products and ideas to our children. On average, children are exposed to 40,000 media messages per year. And the age of exposure to pornography is as young as seven! Even if our children only view half of the media messages that the average child receives, by the time they are in ninth grade, they will have received 280,000 messages! We do not want to wait until our children have been exposed to this volume of truth-claims before we train them to evaluate every message they encounter. We need to equip them in the elementary years to successfully navigate our secular culture.
3. Preparation in a Safe Environment is Key
When we want to protect our children from a disease, we do not lock them in the house and continuously sanitize everything they touch. Instead, we take them to the doctor and expose their bodies to a tiny strand of such diseases. This exposure prepares their immune systems to attack those diseases once they encounter them full-force in the world. The same approach is best in worldview instruction. If we want to keep our children healthy spiritually, we need to expose them to tiny pieces of counterfeit worldviews while they are still at a developmental stage where we regulate most of what they encounter. If we wait until high school to expose them to such ideas, they will have already faced most of these ideas in the culture. Comparative worldview instruction in the elementary years prepares our children to critically evaluate false ideas before they encounter them in the world.
Our elementary-aged children are developmentally ready to learn about the ways in which others view the world. Our secular culture is actively pursuing their hearts and their minds, and God has given us the tools we need to combat this influence! Comparative worldview education is not something we should reserve solely for our high school students.
About Elizabeth Urbanowicz
Elizabeth Urbanowicz is a follower of Jesus who is passionate about equipping kids to understand the truth of the Christian worldview. Elizabeth holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Gordon College, an M.S.Ed. in Education from Northern Illinois University, and an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Elizabeth spent the first decade of her professional career teaching elementary students at a Christian school. Elizabeth now works full time on developing comparative worldview and apologetics resources for children. Her goal is to prepare the next generation to be lifelong critical thinkers and, most importantly, lifelong disciples of Jesus.
Related Posts and insights
How Should Kids Respond to False Ideas
We want our children to be able to recognize what is true and what is false. But how should our kids respond to a false idea when they recognize it? In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz talks about how to guide our children to know when to appropriately respond to a false claim and how to do so.
My kids don't know if the Bible is true!
In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz helps parents guide their kids who don't believe in the Bible. If you're a parent in this situation, you may be wondering where these ideas are coming from and whether this skepticism is healthy, intellectual, or rebellious. How should the kids in your care feel after your conversation with them? What is a reasonable amount of evidence that parents need to provide their children that the Bible is true? By the end of the episode, you'll be equipped with the tools you need to help your kids articulate their questions, and understand your point of view, without sacrificing the relationship.
Should Mom or Dad Give the Sex Talk?
It's no secret that sexuality is a tough topic for parents to broach with their kids. After all, it's not something that most of us feel comfortable talking about. How do we talk to kids about sex and sexuality, and when's the right time to do so? In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz answers the question, "Do you think it is more valuable for a dad to have talks about sexuality with a son or is either parent just as valuable?"