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Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood (PEECh)

by rjp218 Jan 09, 2018

While many ethics education programs focus primarily on adult or adolescent populations, the Rock Ethics Institute expands ethics education research and practice to include early childhood populations. The Institute is currently developing the Philosophical Ethics in Early Childhood (PEECh) project to create discussion- and activity-based ethics education programming for young children (3-5 years). The PEECh project will help educators and researchers to (1) better understand young children’s ability to recognize and distinguish ethical concepts, ideas, and questions, and (2) to explore the effectiveness of children’s literature, child-centered discussions, games, and additional classroom activities for fostering ethical discussions with and ethical development in young children.

The PEECh team members (Dr. Michael D. Burroughs, Assistant Director of the Rock Ethics Institute; Dr. Tina Thompson, Professor of Art Education; Tugce Tuncdemir, Early Childhood Education PhD. Candidate; and Desiree Valentine, Philosophy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies PhD. Candidate) are currently leading ethics education sessions with pre-kindergarten students at the Bennett Family Center. Collaborating with Bennett Center educators, the PEECh team conducts weekly classroom activities (ranging from discussion of ethical dilemmas found in children’s literature, art activities, and ethics role-playing with puppets) focusing on the ethical themes of fairness, empathy, well-being, and inclusion vs. exclusion. Following their work at the Bennett Center the PEECh team plans to expand their program to additional schools and, ultimately, create an accessible and engaging ethics education curriculum for use in early childhood classrooms more broadly.