There are different theories on moral development (Thomas, 2007). Examples of these theories include the one by Kohlberg, Albert Bandura, and Jean Piaget. Therefore, this essay focuses on Piaget’s theory of moral development, in a bid to explain its applicability to Kindergarten aged students.
Unlike other theories of moral development, Piaget’s theory mainly focused on intellectual development among children. Thus, the theory based on the premise that, moral development occurs through a series of stages, which include the formal phase, concrete, preoperational, and Sensorimoter. Further, Piaget held that all children must pass through all these stages without skipping any.
The sensorimoter phase commences at zero years and lasts for two years (Thomas, 2007). In this stage, the infant seeks to make sense of the existing world, as he possesses limited knowledge about it. Further, in this stage, children use the inborn abilities and skills in learning more about the surroundings. On the other hand, the principal feature of preoperational phase is speech development (Thomas, 2007). However, in this stage, children are egocentric, as they are not able to take views from other persons. Further, in this stage children become skilled at the use of symbols, as demonstrated by the increased pretence and playing. In addition, during the preoperational stage, role play becomes essential to the children, as they constantly seek to assume the roles of being a dad, or mum. Moreover, in this stage, most children are not able to manipulate information mentally, and understand concrete logic, an aspect referred to by Piaget as heteronymous morality (Thomas, 2007).
In ascertaining the heteronymous morality aspect, Piaget administered interviews to a number of children regarding acts like lying and stealing. When Piaget questioned the young children on what the word lie implied, most of them replied that it is a bad word. Further, when Piaget asked the children why they should not cheat, they were not able to offer explanation on the forbidden aspect of the word. However, unlike the small children, the older ones were able to provide an explanation of the word (Thomas, 2007). Therefore, from these findings, Piaget concluded that what characterizes this stage is the aspect of moral reasoning, where children strictly adhere to the set rules, with obedience.
Piaget’s theory is very applicable in Kindergarten aged children. For example, borrowing from the theory, it is evident that, kindergarten children should use existing objects in learning how to solve different problems. Verbalizations of the children, as well as, their actions towards the objects give the instructors room for inferring their thought process mechanism. Further, the theory is applicable, as it holds that when children are working on certain problems, teachers should focus on eliciting certain conversations from them. In addition, the theory suggests that, it is vital for Kindergarten teachers to use effective questioning on the characterization of objects. For example, when teaching about geometry, teachers should ask the students to classify the shapes based on their characteristics (Thomas, 2007). Further, teachers should encourage the students to learn through interactive learning based on different discussions.
Moreover, the theory is applicable in kindergarten children because of the argument that they think loudly (Thomas, 2007). Thus, in this regard, kindergarten teachers should use monologue in order to develop the skills of thinking loudly among the children. Doing this is essential, as it will help encourage cognitive development, as well as, building social awareness among the children. In addition, the theory holds that teachers should use objects like cut numbers or alphabets when teaching the children. Doing this is important, being that the young ones learn through observation in this phase. Further, the teachers should encourage the children to interact freely with others, as well as, give them time for currying out deep unhurried explorations. By doing so, kindergarten teachers will greatly help develop the children holistically.
Based on the above discussion, it is evident that Piaget’s theory is very applicable in Kindergarten children. Therefore, based on this fact kindergarten teachers should apply it when teaching the children.
Thomas, R. M. (2007). Theories of Moral Development- Secular and Religious: A Comparative Study. Chicago: Greenwood Publishing Group.