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Developmental Characteristics of 1st Graders

Developmental Characteristics of 1st Graders

Every child’s development is unique. Although children develop through a generally predictable sequence of milestones, we cannot say exactly when a child will reach each and every stage. Every child has his or her own timetable. The characteristics below are offered only as a reference to give you a better understanding of your child. Feel free to contact your pediatrician and/or your child’s school if you have any questions.

The Six-Year-Old

Physical Development

  • Perpetual motion; squirming while sitting, gesturing while talking, runs, tumbles, throws
  • Gaining control of fine motor activities
  • Enjoy testing muscle strength and skills. Love to skip, run, tumble, throw, catch, and dance to music.
  • Developing a good sense of balance. Most can stand on one foot and walk on a balance beam.
  • Can catch balls, tie shoelaces, manage buttons and zippers
  • Sloppy; in a hurry
  • Noisy in a classroom
  • Developing the ability to copy designs and shapes
  • Learning to distinguish left from right
  • Engages in oral activities (teething)--chews pencils, fingernails, hair

Social and Emotional Development

  • Beginning to think about how they look in the eyes of others and are self-conscious
  • Moody; friendly and enthusiastic at times and rebellious and irritable at other times
  • Wants to make friends, but can be bossy and not understand why friendship is rebuffed
  • Can be very competitive
  • Fascinated by rules
  • Sometimes a “poor sport” or dishonest; may invent rules
  • Sensitive to criticism; thrive on encouragement
  • Strong desire to perform well, do things right
  • Generally enjoy caring for and playing with younger children
  • Tend to prefer playmates of the same sex
  • Can be helpful with small chores
  • Have a strong need for love and attention from parents and teachers
  • Determine what is “good” and “bad” based on parents’ and teachers’ opinions. Beginning to develop a moral sense (such as understanding “honesty”).

Intellectual Development

  • Views things as right or wrong, wonderful or terrible, with very little middle ground
  • May reverse printed letters (b/d)
  • Increased problem-solving ability
  • Attention span still short, but long enough to enjoy more involved stories
  • Love to ask questions
  • Learn best through discovery and active involvement with people and materials
  • Interested in real life tasks and activities; want to make “real” jewelry, take“real” photographs, and create “real” collections
  • Extremely rapid expansion of speaking and listening vocabulary
  • Can begin to understand time and days of the week
  • Beginning to understand past when tied closely to the present
  • Sometimes carry on “collective monologues,” two children playing together and talking, but carrying on separate monologues
  • Use language and words to represent things not visible

The Seven-Year-Old

Physical Development

  • Great differences in the size and abilities of children may affect self-concept
  • Large muscles in arms and legs are more developed than small muscles
  • Learning to use small/fine muscles
  • Long arms and legs may give gawky, awkward appearance
  • When tired, may not want to rest
  • Sometimes tense
  • Many physical hurts, real and imagined

Social and Emotional Development

  • Touchy; may say or think, “Nobody likes me.”
  • Love to talk, even exaggerate
  • Work hard to please teachers, parents, and other adults
  • Sensitive to adult evaluation
  • More independent, but still relies heavily on the teacher
  • More emphasis on fairness
  • Likes structure; dislikes changes in school routines
  • Compare self to others; can be self-critical
  • Establishing friendships becomes very important, although they often lack the skills necessary to do so
  • View things as right or wrong, wonderful or terrible, with very little middle ground
  • Seek a sense of security in groups, organized play, and clubs

Intellectual Development

  • More serious and less impulsive than first graders
  • Realize that there are many things that need to be learned, sometimes leading to less confidence than in first grade
  • Begin to reason logically and organize thoughts coherently
  • Most thinking is done about actual physical objects; difficulty handling abstract reasoning
  • Often makes decisions based on influence of others instead of by reasoning
  • Develop more skill in reading
  • Want to assume more responsibility
  • May reverse printed letters (b/d)
  • Speaking and listening vocabulary expanding at a very rapid pace
  • Like to collect, organize, and sort things
  • Longer attention span
  • Learn to evaluate what they do
  • Need closure, want to complete assignments
  • Like to work slowly
  • Want work to be perfect; erase constantly
  • Need manipulatives to learn effectively
  • Like to know how things work
  • Egocentric, but beginning to understand others’ perspectives
Reference: "GCISD - Curriculum Guides and Developmental Characteristics." 2002. Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. 7 Dec. 2007 .