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EXAMINING THE MORAL DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG CHILDREN AND THEIR NATURALISTIC DISPLAYS OF EMPATHY THROUGH SERVICE-LEARNING EXPERIENCES IN PRESCHOOL

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Date Issued:
2011
Abstract/Description:
Moral development in preschool is a component of social and emotional development, which also includes self-regulation, interpersonal skills, and school readiness. While service-learning has demonstrated significant benefits to the social-emotional development of older students, very little research has examined the effects of service-learning with young children. The purpose of this study was to create an academic curriculum that would provide preschool children (3 to 5 years old) with a developmentally-appropriate approach to service-learning, and determine if such a curriculum had a measurable effect on naturalistic empathy. Children in two classrooms received a preliminary empathy score based on number of empathetic behaviors relative to time observed. Children in the experimental classroom engaged in a series of lesson plans designed to guide their self-selected service-learning project. Participants in the experimental classroom created an intergenerational project that directly served the residents of a nursing home across the street from their school. A subsequent assessment of empathy measured moral development as a result of the service-learning in comparison to the normal growth and development observed in the control classroom. Results indicate if participation in service-learning increases the number of observed empathetic behaviors. Implications and recommendations for further research are also discussed.
Title: EXAMINING THE MORAL DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG CHILDREN AND THEIR NATURALISTIC DISPLAYS OF EMPATHY THROUGH SERVICE-LEARNING EXPERIENCES IN PRESCHOOL.
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Name(s): Paris, Elizabeth, Author
Szente, Judit, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2011
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Moral development in preschool is a component of social and emotional development, which also includes self-regulation, interpersonal skills, and school readiness. While service-learning has demonstrated significant benefits to the social-emotional development of older students, very little research has examined the effects of service-learning with young children. The purpose of this study was to create an academic curriculum that would provide preschool children (3 to 5 years old) with a developmentally-appropriate approach to service-learning, and determine if such a curriculum had a measurable effect on naturalistic empathy. Children in two classrooms received a preliminary empathy score based on number of empathetic behaviors relative to time observed. Children in the experimental classroom engaged in a series of lesson plans designed to guide their self-selected service-learning project. Participants in the experimental classroom created an intergenerational project that directly served the residents of a nursing home across the street from their school. A subsequent assessment of empathy measured moral development as a result of the service-learning in comparison to the normal growth and development observed in the control classroom. Results indicate if participation in service-learning increases the number of observed empathetic behaviors. Implications and recommendations for further research are also discussed.
Identifier: CFH0003851 (IID), ucf:44709 (fedora)
Note(s): 2011-05-01
B.S.
Education, Dept. of Child, Family and Community Sciences
Masters
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): moral development
empathy
service-learning
preschool
children
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFH0003851
Restrictions on Access: public 2011-04-01
Host Institution: UCF

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