Journal of Basic Education

The Characteristics of Hong Kong Children’s Moral Development

2004.第13卷第1期(Vol. 13 No. 1).pp. 1–23

The Characteristics of Hong Kong Children’s Moral Development


Mun WONG(黃敏)


This paper reports results of a study that investigated 50 preschool children’s moral judgements about an event involving accidental and deliberate damage to materials. The study aimed to re-examine Piaget’s theory regarding the moral judgements of 4- to 5-year-old children, particularly with regard to judgements of intentions behind an action. The design permitted systematic analysis of the effects of different intentions on children’s moral judgements. Results showed that preschoolers’ moral judgements are not based always on the consequence of the action as Piaget suggested, but varied across different moral content. This study also revealed that children’s moral judgements would vary according to different perspective-taking (self vs. parents). As young as preschool years, children understand that their perspective on moral judgement can be different from that of the moral authority (e.g., parents). The present study highlights the need for specificity with regard to the situation when discussing children’s moral judgements. The results contribute to new understanding of young children’s moral development and provide new insights for young children’s moral education.