Democratic Skill Development for Young Children

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cheerapan Bhulpat
Dr. Jiraporn Rodpuang
Faculty of Education, Suan Dusit University

Paper presented at PECERA 2019 Annual Conference on “Childhood of Tomorrow”, July 12-14, 2019,
Howard Civil Service International House, Taipei, Taiwan

Abstract

Thailand has been governed by a democracy with the King as the Head of State since B.E. 2475 (1932). Up to the present, the establishment of the stable democratic system has not yet occurred. Several coups d’état are one of many causes affecting the children’s development of continuous knowledge, understanding and faith in democracy. Some people have viewed on democracy as only an election for a representative to the Parliament without paying attention to the other dimensions of the system. Democratic skills are crucial and have to be nourished since the early years, so this survey research was conducted to obtain the basic information and propose the ways for the cooperation in developing the democratic skills for young children.      

The objectives of this survey research were: 1) to study the young children’s characteristics which lead to the democratic skills development and 2) to study the ways to develop the democratic skills in the school. The 207 samples composed of administrators, kindergarten teachers, lecturers and students from the early childhood education program were asked to complete the questionnaires. The frequency, percentage, means and standard deviation were used to analyze the data.

The results were: 1) the importance of the democratic characteristics leading to democratic skills were found at the high and the highest levels; the first important characteristic is the respect of one’s own right and the others, the second is the respect of the agreement, rules and regulations as well as participating in group working and learning from the group. 2) The proposed guidelines to develop the democratic skills in the school were ranked at the highest level of appropriateness. The first most appropriate one is integrating through play and direct experience from hand-on activities in order to help children to understand and absorb the skills. The other way is the cultivation of ethics, consciousness and self-discipline in daily activities depending on occasions and ages, allowing young children to think together and to give a reasonable explanation in making agreements in the classroom and respecting the agreements, rules and regulations.

This research proposed the basic data for schools, parents, communities and the stakeholders to develop the democratic skills for young children by integrating into their daily activities. The research results will be used as the basic information for further research design as needed.

Keywords: Development, Young Children, Democratic Skill

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