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6.1: Introduction to Middle Childhood

Skills to Develop

  • Describe physical growth during middle childhood.
  • Prepare recommendations to avoid health risks in school-aged children.
  • Describe recognized examples of concrete operational intelligence.
  •  Define conservation, reversibility, and identity in concrete operational intelligence.
  • Explain information processing theory of memory.
  • Characterize language development in middle childhood.
  •  Compare preconventional, conventional, and postconventional moral development.
  • Define learning disability and describe dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Evaluate the impact of labeling on children’s self-concept and social relationships.
  • Explain the rationale for identifying childhood conditions as spectrum disorders.
  • Explain the controversy over the use of standardized testing in schools.
  • Compare Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence.
  • Compare aptitude and achievement tests.
  • Apply the ecological systems model to explore children’s experiences in schools.
  •  Examine social relationships in middle childhood.
  • Characterized the incidence and impact of sexual abuse in middle childhood.
  •  Analyze the impact of family structure on children’s development.
  •  Describe the developmental stages of stepfamilies.

Introduction

Middle childhood is the period of life that begins when children enter school and lasts until they reach adolescence. Think for a moment about children this age that you may know. What are their lives like? What kinds of concerns do they express and with what kinds of activities are their days filled? If it were possible, would you want to return to this period of life? Why or why not? Early childhood and adolescence seem to get much more attention than middle childhood. Perhaps this is because growth patterns slow at this time, the id becomes hidden during the latent stage, according to Freud, and children spend much more time in schools, with friends, and in structured activities. It may be easy for parents to lose track of their children’s development unless they stay directly involved in these worlds. I think it is important to stop and give full attention to middle childhood to stay in touch with these children and to take notice of the varied influences on their lives in a larger world.

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