The age group of 7 to12 comprises of school going children who are in their middle childhood years. They are trying to balance the change in their lives where they are spending more time away from their parents compared to their early childhood years. They are learning to interact with other people especially their peers as well as trying to be independent. Lots of new mental and physical skills are learnt and perfected due to developed mental ability and involvement in physical education from their teachers and peers. These children however are still growing and immense development in their physical, cognitive and social aspects can be observed (Berger, 2008, p.320).
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Growth and motor development
The pace of growth in these children is a bit slower compared to the infancy and early childhood stage. Middle age children experience an average increase of 2 to 3 inches in height annually while they gain about 5 pounds in weight. (McCandle & Trotter, 1977p.228)
The female children tend to have more fat while the male ones have more muscles. At 7 and 8 years of age the boys grow at a faster rate compared to the girls but this trend reverses when it gets to the age of 9 due to puberty. The lower portion of the body develops faster thus they have long legs with a high degree of flexibility because their ligaments are not firmly attached to the bones. At this stage Primary teeth are replaced with secondary teeth (Berger, 2008, p.330).
Motor development focuses on a child’s capacities and it has two aspects, the gross and the fine. Gross motor development skills are physically involving, they include running, jumping, dancing among others. At the middle age they are more refined compared to the early childhood years. The environment in which the child lives in affects their adaptability of these gross skills, the boys are superior in most gross skills because they are more aggressive.
Middle age children are more sensitive to stimuli to an almost double capacity and they are able to balance their bodies with the high flexibility. Fine motor skills are not very physical and they tend to improve with this children’s age (McCandle & Trotter, 1977, p.230). Their writing which appears to be large in the early stages of learning becomes more legible. These children’s drawings show organization of thought with inclusion of details. Girls get the fine motor skills which depend on balance and agility faster than the boys (McCandle & Trotter, 1977, p.231).
Cognition deals with memory and information processing skills. These children are learning to reason on their own and to understand other peoples reasoning. The middle age children have the ability to memorize more compared to their early childhood years. They can control their attention as well as concentrate on one thing for a while before losing it. In the mid middle years (8-10) the central executive which enables flow of energy in and out of the long memory bank matures (McCandle & Trotter, 1977, p.232). These children’s parents and educators can help them improve through giving them intelligent tasks to handle and ensuring good nutrition to facilitate growth at the right pace.
When children reach this age, their social networks expand and this affects their development (Berger, 2008, p.351). Their life stops being centered on their parents to include other adults and their peers. Middle age children participate in various activities away from home. For example, they go for games where they are trained by the coach. Through this program they meet other adults doing different roles and this gives them a chance to weigh the other adults they are meeting and their thoughts about them. These children form peer groups where they nurture and take responsibility for each other and contribute to the happiness of the group (Berger, 2008, p.353).
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For instance boys of the same age will play basketball together. As they play they learn to work as a group to win and they realize the importance of other people in enhancing their life. The groups they belong to will affect their personality and their achievement because they determine their ability to communicate with others, what kind of relationship skills they have as wells as challenging their intellectual ability (Berger, 2008, p.355).
Friendship is cut along gender lines by avoiding the opposite sex completely and this prepares them for the kind of interaction to be experienced in adolescence. Girls will only relate with other girls while boys will relate with boys. Any boy girl relationship existing is romantic. Relationships among boys are open and they tend to have more friends than girls who specialize on one of two friends of their stature.
Brain and nervous system
Middle age children still have their brain and nervous system developing. Children who have completed their middle childhood years have a developed brain close to that of an adult. At the age of 7, the children brain grows rapidly such that they when they get to the age of 8 or 9 when they almost get to the adult thus widening their cognitive abilities. Major growth occurs on the frontal lobe enabling these children to handle challenging tasks such as playing video games, memorizing multiplication.
The frontal lobe is responsible for developing personalities, decision making, planning among others. Children are able to outgrow magical thinking and self centered thinking due to neural connections formed by the brain and the nervous system (McCandle & Trotter, 1977, p.243). They are able to think logically even though they cannot plan for the future. Piaget links children’s moral thinking to their level of cognitive development.
In conclusion, middle age children still experience growth in their cognitive, social and physical spheres. Their bodies are growing in weight and height.They are breaking from exclusive family relations to other people and more so their peers. Friendship is developing and splitting them on the basis of their gender. They can hold their attention and concentration for sometime and they are able to reason logically and understand other peoples reasoning too.
McCandles, R.B., Trotter, J.R. (1977).Children: Behaviour and Development. Holt, Richard and Winston.3rd Edition
Berger, S.K. (2008).The Developing Person through the Life Span. Worth Publishers.7th Edition. Web.