CHRISTIAN CHILD DEVELOPMENT by Iris V. Cully

CHRISTIAN CHILD DEVELOPMENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Popularized child psychology for Sunday school teachers and, to a lesser extent, Christian parents. Cully (Lexington Theological Seminary, Kentucky) has written eight books in the general area of Christian education. Here she outlines the findings of some leading modern psychologists (Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg, Skinner, etc.) and applies them to the religious training of children, from infancy to adolescence. She views the toddler stage as an opportunity for inculcating an intuitive sense of Law and Grace by combining close supervision with opportunities for personal decision. She points out that children before the age of seven or eight tend to find the marvelous and magical everywhere, and to believe in it spontaneously. This ""preoperational stage"" would therefore be a bad time for teaching about New Testament miracles, because it would promote a superstitious kind of Christianity. Children in the ""concrete-operational"" stage (ages 7-12) will listen eagerly to Bible stories, but they won't be able to grasp them as a historical continuum. Before the age of ten most children will base their moral judgments on a purely objective code. Only at around nine or ten will they clearly see the importance of subjective intention. And so on. Cully herself is an experienced teacher, and her manual is a good piece of pedagogy. She makes her lessons brief, clear, and practical. She emphasizes common sense and flexibility, noting, for example, that religion teachers can make use of positive reinforcement and other behaviorist techniques without subscribing to the radical determinism they imply. And since the book is middle-of-the-road theologically, it should appeal to a broad range of Christian educators.

Pub Date: March 7th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row