The Sunny Five Year Old
Five year olds are a lot of fun to be with! They are generally very self-assured, but don’t need to brag about themselves. They are in a happy stage of equilibrium; all the physical, verbal, and social skills that have developed through the years are strong and empowering. The child is happily social with children who are the same age, younger, and older, but also enjoys conversations with adults.
Occasionally, those 4 ½ year old fears may surface, so reassurance is helpful. The child may express feelings about death, whether related to an insect observed in the garden, a pet, or a family member. Because the child is now fully aware that bad things can happen to good people, it is still a good idea to shield them from scary visual images, such as those seen on news reports and some video games.
The child now cherishes his independence and is dependable. He prefers to eat, bathe, and dress by himself and to choose clothing to be worn. At school he enjoys being the helper and the leader; he now knows all the rules! He can take turns and cooperates in simple group activities. He is keenly interested in his family, culture, and activities, and likes to please adults and shows curiosity about reproduction and birth.
The 5s in a Montessori school usually love challenging lessons on Math, Geography, Sensorial, and Science. They enjoy the magic of words, and are proud of drawings, which are usually related to a story going through his mind. While they can write, it may be tedious for boys. Girls generally hand write words and stories with more ease. At five, children usually read phonetic words, puzzle words, and may read phonograms such as ‘sh’ (ship) and ‘th’ (this). Whatever their own reading level, they still enjoy being read to, and are now very interested in chapter books, atlases, dictionaries, and maps. Around the age of 5 ½, adults can see that the child is beginning to change.
S/he asks different kinds of questions, more related to the larger world and grander thoughts. S/he ponders questions about what is fair, and becomes very upset about real or imagined injustices to self or others. Parents hear more requests for play dates and sleepovers, as the child’s interests in friends expands. These are all indicators of the child’s changing development.
The child from 0-6 is in the First Plane of Development, when learning is effortless, as it occurs through the Absorbent Mind. But between the ages of 5 ½ to 6, the child transitions to the Second Plane of Development. The child in the Second Plane (6-12) exhibits characteristics of a deep interest in history and cultures, industriousness and inquisitiveness, an imagination rooted in reality, and a strong sense of justice. The Second Plane of Development is the most intellectual period of a child’s life.