Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - March/April 1999

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

That Wonderful Goal of Mature Cognition

by Dr. Raymond Moore

Fifteen years or so ago I visited with an aging scientist in Geneva, Switzerland who had been studying how children learn. His name was Jean Piaget. One of his tests for little kids had a tall, narrow glass of water and a short wide one. Both held exactly the same amount of water. Let's say one cup of water would fill each glass, and Dr. Piaget would pour a cupful into each glass. Then he would stop back and ask tots if they were the same size. Some little children would say, "No." When Dr. Piaget asked which held the most water, they would say, "This one," pointing to the tall glass, even though it held exactly the same amount as the short., wide glass. We say they were not cognitively mature.

The word "recognition" or "recognize" means that we are redoing a mental exercise. We are knowing or perceiving or judging something, somebody or somewhere that we have known or perceived or judged before. It is an act of reasoning or of "cognition." When children are reasonable (able to reason), they are much easier to discipline. They can recall parents' prior warnings or instructions and think them reasonable. Before children mature in cognition   or reason   they do not understand right from wrong and are not capable of making decisions. They are more likely to have to be reminded of parents' instructions by a switch or by missing a privilege. But this early parental control is very important in establishing habits which ultimately mature into self-control.

Children who are cognitively mature become more and more able to make decisions based upon the principles you have earlier instilled by precept and example. You can also trust them better with safety instructions and other important day-to-day behaviors.

This cognition factor is vital when it comes to readiness to handle school tasks. Children need to have certain skills in perception and the ability to reason from cause to effect in order to read and do math in a meaningful way. Because of importance, more attention should be focused on how this maturity is acquired.

According to continuing research, the quality of the developmental and nurturing experiences which a child encounters greatly influences his physical, emotional and cognitive maturity. It reminds us of the Smithsonian recipe for genius which prescribes warm, responsive parenting, limited peer association and freedom for the child to explore his own interests. It also reminds us of the study done by Boston College professors John Dacey and Alex Packer who have concluded that nurturing parents are the secret of the real-life skills children need for fulfilling loving and successful lives.

All of this attaches considerable importance to studies made by David Quine, Texas homeschooling dad, (and author of several homeschool programs) with Professors Renner and Merrick at the University of Oklahoma. Following Dr. Piaget's conclusions from experiments in Paris, they have concluded that carefully-tutored children, one to one, with their parents or other caring adults bring mature cognition at much earlier ages than those who simply went off to school. Children who are warmly homeschooled along Moore Formula lines will reach maturity even earlier. This also explains how Christ could out reason the rabbis.

Mr. Quine and his professors found that if they were homeschooled close to their parents instead of going to school with their peers, they would develop adult-level cognition (reason, perception, judgment) by ages 8 to 12, instead of the normal 15 to 20.

Can you see what a terrific advantage this is to children who can go through their pubescent and early adolescent years with more mature reasonability? There is no substitute for parental closeness. Quality time, cognition time, is all the time!