bike.jpgBrain Development

  • experiences rapid language development
  • wants to be first, best, perfect, correct in everything
  • is greatly concerned with right and wrong
  • evidence of organized, logical thought
  • still has difficulty with the concepts of honesty and dishonesty
  • begins to use logical reasoning to solve problems
  • should have mastered the consonants s-z, r, voiceless th, ch, wh, and the soft g sound as in George
  • should handle opposite analogies easily: girl-boy, man-woman, flies-swims, blunt-sharp, short-long, sweet-sour, etc.
  • there is the ability to perform multiple classification tasks, order objects in a logical sequence, and comprehend the principle of conservation
  • thinking becomes less egocentric
  • understands such terms as: alike, different, beginning, end, etc.
  • should be able to tell time to quarter hour
  • should be able to do simple reading and to write or print many words
  • is capable of concrete problem-solving
  • can sort unlike objects into logical groups where previously sorting was based on superficial attributes such as colour
  • may still reverse printed letters, D and B, for example
  • enjoys planning and building
  • has longer attention span


Inside the Brain

  • myelination of corpus callosum of the frontal lobe continues, dendritic complexity increases in order to facilitate the formation of memory
  • electrical activity of the brain gains coherence allowing the brain to better integrate the past with the present
  • improving connections between temporal and parietal lobes of the brain lead to dramatic reading and vocabulary development
  • synaptic density in the frontal lobes of the brain peaks and pathways between the frontal lobes and the limbic system lead to better impulse control, greater independence, improved planning and acceptance of responsibility
  • growth in the Broca’s area of the brain allows children to begin to understand things like irony and sarcasm
  • memory strategies continue to develop


Emotional Development

  • becomes better at expressing negative feelings through language
  • may blame another for own mistake
  • finds criticism or failure difficult to handle
  • 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


Social Development

  • continues to enjoy dramatic play
  • plays with boys and girls together
  • usually has a best friend of the same sex
  • 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
  • begins to look for role models
  • shows growing concern about popularity among peers
  • seeks approval of peers as well as adults
  • takes it upon self to enforce rules
  • tattles on other children perceived to be misbehaving
  • tends to be quite critical


Physical Development

  • can ride a bicycle
  • still has better large muscle than small muscle coordination
  • begins to alternate rigorous and restful activities independently
  • 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
  • has more refined eye-hand coordination
  • favours competitive games
  • may ask questions about life, death, and the human body
  • still preoccupied with subject of teeth

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.