Moral Development

Helping children step on the right path – Free Course

What you’ll learn

  • Understand what moral behavior is and how it works
  • Know how preschool children develop different kinds of moral behavior
  • Apply knowledge about moral development into practice of moral education of children


  • No special software is required, but some knowledge of psychology at an introductory level is expected.


This course summarises the results of over 30 years author’s work on the problem of children’s moral development. It explains what moral behaviour is, what types of moral behaviour exist, and how the first sprouts of morality emerge in preschool children. I will explain what cognitive abilities children need to develop to be able to follow the rules of morality. I will show and discuss video clips of children solving moral dilemmas in the modelled real life situations. I will explain what types of moral behaviour exist, and compare advantages and disadvantages of each of these types. We will see what stages preschool children go through in their moral development. I will give distinct recommendations to parents and moral educators on how to promote different types of moral development in preschool children.

In this course I avoid special terminology and boring statistical data, but I do have to employ certain psychological concepts, such as “identification” or “self-esteem”, so I expect my students to have an elementary background in psychology at an introductory level, or at least be familiar with such concepts from their general reading. This is a video course, which includes power point slides, videos with author’s comments, live videos showing children working on moral dilemmas tasks, graphs and drawings. It will take students about 120 minutes to watch all the lectures and answer quizzes, but it might take a little more time if you do some recommended background reading.

The course is in three parts; each part includes 2 video lectures. Each video-lecture comprises author’s audio and video tracks, videos of children working on moral dilemmas tasks, animated pictures and graphs. In the end of each part students will have an opportunity to check their knowledge and understanding of the material, by answering the questions of a multiple-choice quiz. The lectures are supplemented by reading materials, more videos of children who are facing moral choices, and two worksheets in which you will be asked to complete practice exercises on some psychological, ethical, philosophical and methodological aspects of children’s moral behaviour. The course ends with the final quiz. By completing this quiz students have an opportunity to check their understanding of this course and apply their knowledge about moral development to simulated real life situations. If you want to understand how children’s moral development works and what rules parents and educators need to follow in order to stimulate development of different types of moral behaviour in their children, than this course is for you.

Author(s): Eugene Subbotsky

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