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As children mature and develop a more foundational understanding of the concept of adaptation, their mindset may change from one of teleological thinking to a more concrete understanding thus providing for a more in-depth exploration of evolutionary theory where they will have the ability to use higher level cognitive skills to interpret different theories.


In an article written by Deborah Kelemen (2004), it is understood that children have the capability for teleological rationale culminating in the fact that they have the inclination to reason about objects and experiences in terms of reason. 


So what is teleological reasoning??

According to Merriam-Webster (2013), teleological reasoning refers to the idea that all living things in nature were created with a purpose in mind.

How is this related to evolutionary theory?

When introducing children to the idea of evolution, it is important to understand that young children have the capacity to understand teleological rationale by providing them with a purpose and understanding of life on the Earth.  Keeping this in mind, it is important to provide children with this basic understanding of purpose, thus providing them with a foundation for evolutionary theory they will develop on their own as they are exposed to more complicated evolutionary theories and understandings.

References:


Kelemen, D. (2004). Are children “intuitive theists”? Reasoning about purpose and design in nature. Psychological Science, 15(5), 295-301.

Merriam-Webster. (2013). Teleological. Retrieved from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teleological

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