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How A Child Thinks Regarding Moral Issues

Aug 17, 2007
Daughter "When people drive don't they have to stop at red lights?" Mom: "Well yes honey, the law says when a person is driving and the light changes to red they must come to a complete stop" Daughter: "See Mommy, that's why the policeman is after you!"

Jean Piaget had great interest in how a child thinks regarding moral issues He said that children think in two ways about morality. The first is heteronomous morality thinking, which occurs between four and seven years of age. The second is autonomous morality, which occurs between seven to ten years of age.

Piaget believed that heteronomous morality is the first stage of moral development. He said "Justice and rules are conceived as unchangeable properties of the world."

A discussion between a six year old mother and her daughter shows how the daughter who is a heteronomous thinker, also believes in imminent justice. Imminent justice is the concept that if a "rule is broken, one must pay a price." In the case of a driver who passes a red light, from our discourse above, the punishment must fit the crime, i e., a major traffic ticket!

Children who are six years old have a vocabulary from eight thousand to fourteen thousand words. Truly, this can be very surprising to anyone who is listening to a six year old child. Not only are six year olds better conversationalists than younger ages, but they are more aware of their surroundings.

Apparently, their cognitive development has progressed to another level. I find the ration of years to progression quite interesting. In fact, I find the numbers of words memorized staggering for only six years of age!

Another characteristic about six year old children's thought lives, is that they are classified as being in the intuitive thoughts, which is Piaget's second sub-stage of pre-operational thought. In this stage Piaget states that, "children begin to use primitive reasoning and want to know the answers to all sorts of questions."

Some questions six year olds may ask are: "Why are some trees so big and some so small? Who do balloons go up to the sky? Piaget called this time period intuitive, because "on one hand children seem so sure about their thinking and knowledge, yet they are so unaware of how they know what they know."

Six year old children experience personal feelings of success and achievement through movement. As for all children, they enjoy positive rewards and congratulations. A six year old child can enjoy even more verbal praise, because smiles and thumbs ups encourage them to try even harder at any given task!

It is very important to remember that six year old children's physical and psychological development has a lot to do with movement and fun focused activity. Their energy and readiness to move contributes to a willingness to participate in aerobic type teaching activities.

Knowing this, should tell a teacher not to just lecture to children in rote words, but to also utilize modeling and scaffolding with bright bold pictures and words.

Some six year olds can skip, run, and play hopscotch. Others will need more verbal praise to get involved physically, and possibly even a jelly bean or other extrinsic reward. Whatever teachers do, they must remember that six year olds like to use their hands, and enjoy working and playing with a wide variety of objects.

Lightweight balls, beads, rings, unifex cubes, blocks, buttons, popsicle sticks, legos, Lincoln Logs, sandboxes, finger painting, Play-Dough, and other fine motor manipulative objects, can enhance a key story or lesson being taught by the teacher to the students. More importantly though, those objects stimulate their brain, vocabulary, and cognitive development unlike anything else at this critical stage of their lives!
About the Author
"Helping ALL To Succeed"
Don Alexander, Published Writer & Online Business Mentor
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