Preschool Children’s Perceptions of Fairness: “I can wait, even if it takes a while”

Orit Hod-Shemer, Hana Zimerman, Safieh Hassunah-Arafat, Cheruta Wertheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Most studies on fairness behavior in preschool focus on fair resource allocation and on children’s behavior when faced with fairness dilemmas. The purpose of this study is to understand preschoolers’ point of view: what do they think when presented with various scenarios that call for fairness behavior? We interviewed 66 children aged 3.5–6 years, half of them girls, asking them about four social events in preschool life. We found that the children included three aspects in their answers that constituted the foundation of their perception of fairness and construal of social events: an explanation, expression of empathy and offering a solution. The children did so spontaneously and consistently. Moreover, the results showed that the more personally committed to the scenario the children felt, the fairer the behavior they reported. The study underscores various aspects of fairness and suggests referring to them both in research and in educational practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Childhood Education Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Empathy
  • Fairness
  • Preschool
  • Resource allocation


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