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Developmental Characteristics of 5th Graders

Developmental Characteristics of 5th 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 Ten -Year-Old

Physical Development

  • Girls are generally ahead of boys in physical maturity; onset of puberty for some girls
  • Increase body strength and hand dexterity
  • Large muscle development is advanced
  • Handwriting often sloppier than at nine
  • Have improved coordination and reaction time
  • Desperately need outdoor time and physical challenge
  • Complaints like stomach aches, headaches, leg pain, etc. usually less than at nine
  • Snacks and rest periods helpful for growing bodies
  • Appetite fluctuates but is generally good

Social and Emotional Development

  • Fairness issues peak and can be solved
  • Like clubs, activities, sports
  • Humor is broad, labored, and usually not funny to adults
  • May discuss contemporaries in terms of capabilities; his reading or his math
  • Usually direct, matter fact, clear-cut
  • Generally easygoing, content, friendly, and balanced
  • Usually less anxious, exacting, and demanding than at nine
  • Talkative; likes to tell stories about something they have seen, heard, or read about; can talk something  “into the ground”
  • May belittle or defy adult authority, but are closer to their families then at many other levels
  • Enjoy both family and peers
  • Developing more mature sense of right and wrong, good at solving social issues
  • Often interested in caring for animals, boys and girls may be interested in horses, but girls are especially interested
  • Shrug off responsibility; can usually toss off criticisms and bad grades
  • Likes and dislikes are described in very specific terms
  • Note passing, sometimes about the opposite sex

Intellectual Development

  • Can be voracious readers
  • Expressive, talkative, like to explain
  • Cooperative, competitive and inquisitive
  • Classification and collections of interest; like to organize
  • Able to concentrate, read for extended periods
  • Good problem solvers
  • Like to complete a task but doesn’t usually wish to enlarge or elaborate on it;  wish to try 
    everything
  • Interest span is short
  • Have a stricter ethical sense than most other ages
  • Very concerned about fairness
  • Generally love to memorize, but don’t generalize or correlate facts, or care what to do with 
    the knowledge
  • Often enjoy “place” geography--names of states, capitals, but vague about actual geographic 
    characteristics
  • Not able to plan own work, need schedules
  • Better able to see the perspectives of others
  • Most interested in concrete learning experiences and learning of specifics
  • Like to talk and listen more than work

The Eleven -Year-Old

Physical Development

  • Vast appetite for food, physical activity, and talking
  • Growth spurt of early adolescence for some girls, may feel awkward and clumsy
  • Girls ahead of guys in physical maturity; boys’ big growth spurt may not start until 14; Boys worry if they are ever going to grow
  • Wide differences among individuals in rate of development
  • Curious about opposite sex; girls usually interested first
  • Tiredness; need for more sleep
  • Often uncomfortable with questions and observations about how much they have grown and physical changes
  • Increased need for personal hygiene

Social and Emotional Development

  • Less overt affection and attention shown to parents, with occasional rudeness; tests limits
  • Impulsive, unaware
  • Focus on self, alternating between high expectations and poor self-concept
  • Have tendency to return to childish behavior, particularly when stressed
  • Experience extremes of emotions
  • Inclusive/exclusion; height of cliques, seek to belong, discovery of telephone
  • Experimenting with behavior, roles, appearance, self-image
  • Difficulty with decisions but need to be able to make some choices for themselves
  • Demand privileges, but may avoid responsibilities
  • Feel unique; believe that no one else has ever felt the way they do; suffered so much, or been so misunderstood

Intellectual Development

  • Mostly interested in present, limited thoughts of the future
  • Intellectual interests expand
  • Increased ability to de-center and see world from various perspectives
  • Development of ideals and selectin of role models
  • May experiment with dangerous risk-taking behaviors
  • Even if students can make abstractions, they learn best when activities are active, hands-on, and related to personal experiences
  • Concerned with rules, standards of behavior and fairness, especially for themselves
  • Do not distinguish between what they are thinking and what others may be thinking;  assume that every other person is as concerned with their behavior and appearance as they are better at planning than carrying out the plan
Reference: "GCISD - Curriculum Guides and Developmental Characteristics." 2002. Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. 7 Dec. 2007 .