The transition into the school-age years coincides with a shift from an egocentric way of thinking – which is not to be confused with selfishness, but rather a child’s inability to put themselves in other people’s shoes – to a more mature, perceptive, and imaginative way of thinking. Throughout this developmental phase, your child will demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for learning new concepts, make strides in gaining self-confidence, and develop the necessary skills to understand the world and people around them. At age 5, your child will enter kindergarten, their first taste of the world of school. And by age 8, they will be able to properly articulate their feelings, a range of ideas, and effectively solve problems through dialogue.
5- to 6-year-olds
- Vocabulary increasing to approximately 2,000 words
- Can compose sentences with five or more words
- Can count up to 10 objects at one time
- Know left and right
- Begin to reason and argue; uses words like why and because
- Can categorize objects: “These are toys; these are books.”
- Understand concepts like yesterday, today, and tomorrow
- Can copy complex shapes, such as a diamond
- Should be sounding out simple words like “hang”, “neat”, “jump” and “sank”
- Are able to sit at a desk , follow teacher instructions, and independently do simple in-class assignments
7- to 8-year-olds
- Develop a longer attention span
- Are willing to take on more responsibility (i.e. chores)
- Understand fractions and the concept of space
- Understand money
- Can tell time
- Can name months and days of week in order
- Enjoy reading a book on their own
- Get your child a library card. Regular visits to the library will increase their vocabulary, imagination, and desire to learn. A library card is a great way to introduce the concepts of borrowing and responsibility to a child, too.
- Introduce your child to museums, new neighbourhoods, and exhibitions. These venues will inevitably foster exploration and an understanding of perspectives outside of a child’s own.
- Spend as much uninterrupted time – one-on-one – with your child as you can.
- Avoid prolonged viewing of television, video and computer games.
- Set up a homework space and routine in your home.
- Talk to your child’s teacher if you are concerned about their progress.
Cynthia Goldfarb, MD, FRCPC
Lee Ford Jones, MD, FRCP(C)
Alissa Levy, PhD, CPsych
Kristina Tocek, BA, MScOT