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Altruism in Preschool

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Altruism in Preschool
Teaching altruistic behavior in a four-year-old preschool classroom
Stephanie Arnold, Priscilla Bermudez, Laura Robles, Michele Terreri
Rutgers University

Abstract
Developmental research has been performed to study pro-social behavior in children in a preschool setting. This has been studied in connection with emotions and reasoning. Previous research has found varying results when analyzing a preschooler’s decision on if and when they will share with peers. A previous study by the same team showed that preschool age children are significantly more likely to share with peers who display pro-social behavior as opposed to antisocial behavior. Sixteen four-year old children in New Jersey preschools were studied to see if an intervention would teach altruistic behavior. This was performed using photographs of peers associated with accompanying stories. Future research might allow spacing between the intervention and post-test.

Introduction Psychological research has been performed to show weather or not young children understand morality as well as emotions. Empirical research has further examined altruistic as well as selfish behaviors. Gummerum, Hanoch, Keller, Parsons, and Hummel (2010) studied how children understand and behave in regard to emotional ascription and moral judgment. Their study included preschool-age children in a professional childcare setting. The children were given stickers and presented with various situations in which they chose if they wanted to share. They found that girls shared more often than boys, which is what they hypothesized. This supports the theory that selfless behaviors are displayed more often by girls than boys. Gummerum et al. (2010) agued that parental socialization practices as the likely reason as to why there is a difference between genders. They further explain that girls are often praised more than boys for altruistic actions. McCrink, Bloom, and Santos (2010) also studied how four and five



References: Eisenberg-Berg, N., & Neal, C. (1979). Children 's moral reasoning about their own spontaneous pro-social behavior. Developmental Psychology, 15(2), 228-229. Gummerum, M., Hanoch, Y., Keller, M., Parsons, K., & Hummel, A. (2010). Preschoolers ' allocations in the dictator game: the role moral emotions McCrink, K., Bloom, P., & Santos, L. (2010). Children 's and adult 's judgment of equitable resource distributions. Developmental Science, 37-45. Spivak, A., & Howes, C. (2011). Social and relational factors in early education and pro-social actions of children of diverse ethnocultural communities Arnold, S., Bermudez, P., Robles, L., Terreri, M., (2012) Preschool altruistic behavior.

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