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ERIC Number: EJ1003861
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-1538-6619
Beyond "I'm Sorry": The Educator's Role in Preschoolers' Emergence of Conscience
Smith, Charles A.
Young Children, v68 n1 p76-82 Mar 2013
People are not born with a conscience. Conscience does not appear because of "message" books with moral lessons or a grade school campaign for character or a high school course on ethics. Just as children are born to talk and walk, seeking positive social engagement is part of the fabric of humanity. Talking, walking, and caring, however, must have catalysts to flourish. For conscience, the catalyst is the care and guidance of parents, teachers, and other loving adults. The critical period for this catalyst is the first three years of life. Development of a conscience begins in early childhood with compassion and sympathy, followed by empathy. Together, compassion, sympathy, and empathy form the foundations of conscience during early childhood.
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101. Tel: 800-424-2460; Tel: 202-232-8777; Fax: 202-328-2649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A