Young children’s beliefs about including others in their play: Social and moral reasoning about inclusion and exclusion

Wainman, Briony M., Walker, Sue, Brownlee, Joanne M., Boulton-Lewis, Gillian M., Cobb-Moore, Charlotte, Johansson, Eva, & Whiteford, Chrystal (2011) Young children’s beliefs about including others in their play: Social and moral reasoning about inclusion and exclusion. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(3), pp. 137-146.

View at publisher


Previous research has emphasised the importance of active citizenship in the early years for the development of a tolerant and cohesive Australian society. This paper presents findings related to young children’s beliefs about exclusion based on gender and race. The findings draw from a larger study exploring the development of children’s moral and social values and teachers’ beliefs and practices related to teaching for moral development, in the early years of school in Australia. This current study examined reasoning about exclusion in early childhood with children aged 5-8 years. One hundred children from seven schools (Preparatory to Grade 3) answered questions relating to two scenarios in which the children had to make a decision about whether to include others of different gender or race in their play. The majority of children believed that others should be included in their play, regardless of their gender or race. When asked to explain, the children primarily gave reasons related to moral concern and fairness. Children were then asked whether they would continue to include or exclude if their friends (social consensus) or teachers (authority) suggested otherwise. The majority of children maintained their beliefs when beliefs to the contrary were voiced by their peers and teachers. The implications of these responses are discussed.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

292 since deposited on 12 Sep 2011
22 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 45872
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Early childhood, social and moral reasoning, social inclusion and exclusion, children’s play
ISSN: 1836-9391
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Early Childhood Australia Inc.
Deposited On: 12 Sep 2011 03:43
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2017 14:43

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page