Developing your Child’s Moral Code

Understanding How We Develop Our Moral Understanding

According to development psychologist, Lawrence Kohlberg, moral development is divided into three board levels with two subsections in each stage. Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development are covered in this video:

Our children in the early years program usually fit firmly into the first level called the Pre-conventional morality. During this level the moral code of children is shaped by the standards of the adults around them and how they respond when the essential agreements or boundaries are crossed. By helping children think critically about their choices, encouraging them to display the attitudes and learner profile as well as linking natural consequences to their actions they develop a sense of ownership of their actions.  If this isn’t instilled at an early age they will only do good to prevent punishment.

It is important to encourage children to realize that their actions are a choice for which they are responsible. Encouraging children to listen to, hear and respect other opinions, points of view or perspectives helps them to move to the next stage of development.

Take a moment to try using the Heinz Dilemma to work out where you are in your own moral development!  It is a fascinating exercise that will give you insight into yourself and your class.  Enjoy!

Contributed by: Karen Cooke

Assistant Head of Early Years

Greenfield Community School 

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