Group 3 (Grades 5 & 6)

SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

In Group 3 (5th-6th grade)

Social and Emotional Characteristics

  • They have one foot in childhood and one in pre-adolescence: Some students are still playing with Legos and My Little Ponies and others are into pop culture and music. Sometimes it is the same kid!
  • They are more able to consider and appreciate perspectives that might differ from their own.
  • There is less blaming of others and more acceptance of responsibility in conflict.
  • There is more consideration of the good of the group instead of personal wants and they can defer gratification to some degree.
  • They are beginning to find an identity that is separate from their family and from their friends.
  • Where opinions and preference might have been a reflection of their parents or siblings, they begin to decide what they think for themselves —they try out many different “hats” sometimes.
  • This can be seen in shifting friendships—what we call the “divorce” years, when kids who played together for years suddenly find they like different things and don’t hang out together as much. Sometimes this can be confusing and sad.

Some Ways We Foster Growth in the Classroom

  • Current Events discussions – expanding their social worldviews
  • Social Studies (Government) role plays – cooperation, conflict resolution
  • Small Group Reading Discussions – appreciating multiple perspectives
  • Break and Lunch – learning to be socially responsible without constant adult supervision
  • Camping Trip – gaining independence, sharing space, thinking about group needs

Tips for Parents

  • Respect that your child is developing a space for her or himself and don’t expect a daily check-in about what has happened at school.
  • If you want to know what is happening occasionally ask questions based on the Group 3 updates.
  • Discussions about things that are happening in the world help kids this age broaden their world view—the Current Events magazine is a good starting point for some of these discussions, but also things that are happening in the community are important for kids to discuss and think about.
  • The move from childhood to pre-adolescence is rarely a straight path—expect backtracks and leaps.
  • Good literature for this age group presents characters who are learning about themselves in the same way that your kids are learning about themselves.