happy_travels.jpgBrain Development

  • is often idealistic
  • is keenly interested in projects and hobbies
  • is proud of completing tasks
  • resists adult guidance at times
  • has organized, logical thought
  • is able to perform multiple classification tasks, order objects in a logical sequence, and comprehend the principle of conservation
  • may still reverse printed letters, D and B, for example
  • enjoys planning and building
  • has longer attention span
  • thinking becomes less egocentric
  • is capable of concrete problem-solving
  • can relate rather involved accounts of events, many of which occurred at some time in the past
  • complex and compound sentences should be used easily
  • should be few lapses in grammatical constructions: tense, pronouns, plurals
  • all speech sounds, including consonant blends, should be established
  • should be reading with considerable ease and now writing simple compositions
  • social amenities should be present in speech in appropriate situations
  • control of rate, pitch, and volume are generally well and appropriately established
  • can carry on conversation at a rather adult level
  • follows fairly complex directions with little repetition
  • has well developed time and number concepts


Inside the Brain

  • accelerated growth of the prefrontal cortex begins at age 8
  • the brain reaches 90 percent of its adult weight by age 8 and organization for memory begins
  • from 8-9 children learn best through positive feedback due to the development of their cognitive controls centre in the brain, meaning negative feedback, or learning from your mistakes, remains a challenge
  • the brain strengthens its ability to learn as myelination of fibres speeds associations between senses and ideas
  • some research suggests by age 8 or 9, synaptic growth in some areas of the brain will be limited compared to the early years and will continue to be throughout life
  • children are no longer learning to read but are reading to learn


Emotional Development

  • is easily embarrassed
  • begins to realize others experience similar feelings of anger, fear, and sadness
  • sees things as black and white, right or wrong, very little middle ground
  • generally enjoys caring for, and playing with, younger children
  • may become upset when behaviour or schoolwork is ignored
  • becomes discouraged easily
  • is often self-deprecating


Social Development

  • enjoys secrets
  • can be argumentative and bossy
  • can also be quite lovable and responsive
  • being friends becomes increasingly important
  • shows interest in rules and rituals
  • wants to play more with similar friends e.g. girls with girls, boys with boys
  • may have ‘best friend’ or ‘enemy’
  • shows strong desire to perform well
  • begins to see things from another’s perspective but is still very self-centered
  • shows increasing ability to understand the needs and opinions of others
  • is preoccupied with finding compatible friends
  • also likes to belong to more structured adult-led groups such as Scouts
  • begins to display a sense of loyalty
  • shows some hostility towards the opposite sex
  • no longer wants to assist in household chores
  • especially likes to belong to informal "clubs" formed by children themselves


Physical Development

  • continues to be accident prone, especially on the playground
  • has more control over small muscles, and therefore writes and draws with more skill
  • skilled at using scissors and small tools
  • shows development of permanent teeth
  • enjoys testing muscular strength and skills
  • has a good sense of balance
  • can tie shoe laces
  • enjoys copying designs, shapes, letters and numbers
  • may have gawky, awkward appearance
  • displays a casual attitude towards clothing and appearance
  • may agonize over height and weight
  • seems to possess boundless energy

As every child is unique and there is a wide range of what’s ‘normal’ at every age, it’s important to remember these lists are guidelines only. If you are concerned about your child’s development, see your doctor.

Sources: AboutKidsHealth, The Hospital for Sick Children, Health A-Z, Developmental Stages, Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services, Ontario Early Years Centres: A Place for Parents and Their Children,The Developing Brain: Birth to Age Eight, by Marilee Sprenger, Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence, by Jane M. Healy, Ages and Stages, by Lesia Oesterreich, M.S.,extension human development specialist, Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University and “Learning from mistakes only happens after age 12, study suggests,” from Science Daily, Sept. 27, 2008.