The child of three or four is saturated with adult rules. His universe is dominated by the idea that things are as they ought to be, that everyone's actions conform to laws that are both physical and moral - in a word, that there is a Universal Order.
Children's games constitute the most admirable social institutions. The game of marbles, for instance, as played by boys, contains an extremely complex system of rules - that is to say, a code of laws, a jurisprudence of its own.
Our problem, from the point of view of psychology and from the point of view of genetic epistemology, is to explain how the transition is made from a lower level of knowledge to a level that is judged to be higher.
To reason logically is so to link one's propositions that each should contain the reason for the one succeeding it, and should itself be demonstrated by the one preceding it. Or at any rate, whatever the order adopted in the construction of one's own exposition, it is to demonstrate judgments by each other.
During the first few months of an infant's life, its manner of taking the breast, of laying its head on the pillow, etc., becomes crystallized into imperative habits. This is why education must begin in the cradle.
The main functions of intelligence, that of inventing solutions and that of verifying them, do not necessarily involve one another. The first partakes of imagination; the second alone is properly logical.
The more the schemata are differentiated, the smaller the gap between the new and the familiar becomes, so that novelty, instead of constituting an annoyance avoided by the subject, becomes a problem and invites searching.
Before playing with his equals, the child is influenced by his parents. He is subjected from his cradle to a multiplicity of regulations, and even before language he becomes conscious of certain obligations.
Everyone knows that at the age of 11-12, children have a marked impulse to form themselves into groups and that the respect paid to the rules and regulations of their play constitutes an important feature of this social life.
With regard to moral rules, the child submits more or less completely in intention to the rules laid down for him, but these, remaining, as it were, external to the subject's conscience, do not really transform his conduct.
The child often sees only what he already knows. He projects the whole of his verbal thought into things. He sees mountains as built by men, rivers as dug out with spades, the sun and moon as following us on our walks.