Steps and Stages: Six through Eight-Year-Olds

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Six, seven, and eight-year-olds build on the important developments of the first 6 years of life and seem to settle down to a steadier pace of growing and learning. Young school-age children are interested in real life tasks and activities, and pretend and fantasy lessen considerably. School-agers want to make "real" jewelry, take "real" photographs, and create "real" collections.

School-age children have longer attention spans. They are more likely to stick with things until the project is finished, the problem solved, or the argument resolved. Doing things together with friends, teamwork, and following rules become very important. This age group is fascinated by rules and can develop games with extensive rules and rituals.


- skilled at using scissors and small tools
- development of permanent teeth
- enjoys testing muscle strength and skills
- good sense of balance
- can catch small balls
- can tie shoelaces
- enjoys copying designs and shapes, letters and numbers
- can print name
- long arms and legs may give gawky awkward appearance


- may reverse printed letters (b/d)
- enjoys planning and building
- doubles speaking and listening vocabularies
- reading may become a major interest
- increased problem-solving ability
- interested in magic and tricks
- longer attention span
- enjoys creating elaborate collections
- able to learn difference between left and right
- can begin to understand time and the days of the week


- being with friends becomes increasingly important
- interested in rules and rituals
- girls want to play more with girls; boys with boys
- may have a best friend and an enemy
- strong desire to perform well, do things right
- begins to see things from another child's point of view, but still
very self-centered
- finds criticism or failure difficult to handle
- views things as black and white, right or wrong, wonderful or
terrible, with very little middle ground
- seeks a sense of security in groups, organized play, and clubs
- generally enjoys caring for and playing with younger children
- may become upset when behavior or school-work is ignored

Portions of this page made possible by the National Network for Child Care - NNCC.
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