The six year old child enters a new stage of development, when the quest for knowledge is insatiable. This is the most intellectual period of a child’s life.
His physical development is typically slow and steady. Some children may reach a plateau prior to the growth spurt of puberty. The child is well coordinated and fine motor skills continue to refine. Permanent teeth provide the child with concrete evidence that he is growing up. Energy levels are usually high if the ideal of 10 hours of sleep is met each night. During spurts of maturation, energy levels may be lower.
The most outstanding characteristics of the six year old are related to his entrance into the second plane of development. He is now characterized by reasoning with imagination and logic. He has a strong concern for fairness, and his interest in friends is of utmost importance. He wants to fit in with his sports teams, school group, and neighborhood friends, and begins to think about his future role in the global community. He may talk about becoming a professional baseball player or a firefighter; she may refer to her future as a ballet dancer or doctor.
In school, the student’s interest and engagement is sparked through studies of worldwide cultures, history, and space exploration. With basic skills of reading and writing underway or in development, the student enjoys doing research on people, animals, geography, flags, and plants using age-appropriate books and materials. The emerging scientist loves to perform and observe science experiments, fascinated by the natural world. He can use his scientific understanding to observe a leaf cell through a microscope and his imagination to learn about a virus or bacteria.
With the child’s interest in friends and well-coordinated muscles, he enjoys playing on sports teams, after school classes such as robotics or ceramics, and scouts. Spending time playing ball, biking, or engaged in art projects are popular activities. While he may grumble a bit about homework, he may actually be proud to have it. He still adores his parents, so time spent together is special, whether it involves shooting hoops, cooking, or cleaning out the car.
It is helpful to remember that the six year old is a child under construction, and may still need lots of parent support in trying out new skills. Time to talk about the day’s events is one of the best ways that we can honor the child and support his new stage of development.