Child Development

 Skills Kids Need to Begin First Grade

  • Listen to the teacher and raise hand to talk
  • Line up and walk with a group without talking or disrupting others
  • Work independently without disturbing other students
  • Keep up with possessions and inform parents when out of supplies (pencils, etc.)
  • Listen to authority figures and follow instructions
  • Talk with teachers and peers about daily activities and events
  • Recgonize and write numbers to at least 20
  • Recognize and write alphabet
  • Recognize and sort by shapes and patterns
  • Write first and last name
  • Retell a story

Developmental Milestones: The 6 Year Old Child

In the early school years, you won't see dramatic changes in motor skills because this is a period of refinement, when coordination improves and fine motor skills are sharpened. But you will notice remarkable changes in social and thinking skills. Your child is now expanding on the base of skills developed during childhood and moving toward greater independence, both intellectually and emotionally.

Here are some of the milestones you can expect of a 6-year-old:

 Motor Development
  1. may still be somewhat uncoordinated and gawky
  2. able to learn to ride a bicycle
  3. can move with music or a beat
Language & Thinking Development
  1. moving toward abstract thinking
  2. develops reasoning skills
  3. begins to learn thru language and logic
  4. wants it all; has difficulty making choices
Social & Emotional Development 
  1. grows more independent, yet feels less secure
  2. craves affection from parents and teachers
  3. friendships are unstable; can be unkind to peers
  4. needs to be the winner and may change rules to suit herself
  5. may be hurt by criticism, blame, or punishment
  6. can be rigid, demanding, and unable to adapt
  7. increasingly aware that others have may have different feelings

Activities and Interests

So far in childhood, your child has participated in three types of play - self-centered play, object play, and social play. At six the trend has shifted to social play. While 1st grade doesn't provide the same opportunities for role-taking play that children enjoyed in kindergarten, it is still important to kids this year. They will construct dramatic roles in play, taking on roles of teacher and students, boyfriend and girlfriend, cops and robbers and so on. Role-taking play furthers their development of self-other perspective, builds empathy, and helps them feel a sense of social power and competence. Let them enjoy this type of play. By the end of the year, role-taking play wanes and rule-bound play begins.

Object play means solitary play with their toys. At six, object play becomes more social. Dolls will be included in the dramatic script; simple board games are enjoyed with a group; house and school play needs props. The difference now is that two or more children will play together with the toys, creating their games and using reciprocity to define the use of toys. Many children, however, still enjoy solitary object play. They may be early readers or enjoy building collections. In a sense, solitary object play takes them back to an earlier time and is comforting, less stressful. Six (and older) needs this private play time to relieve the tension of social development. Parents should provide opportunities for children to have social play time and solitary play time with toys and objects that reflect the child's personal interests.

Building Character

Six-year olds need encouragement and praise. They need to know that it's okay to make mistakes and how to be a gracious loser. Too much pressure for perfect grades and model behavior increases six's tension and is not appropriate at this stage of development. Focus on being attentive and accepting to help him feel good about being who he is at age six.