INTRODUCTION TO LATE CHILDHOOD STAGE

 

UNIT STRUCTURE

1. Learning Objectives
2. Introduction
3. Late Childhood Stage

1. Characteristics of Late Childhood
2. Hazards of Late Childhood
4. Educational Importance of Late Childhood
5. Let Us Sum Up
6. Further Readings
7. Answers to Check Your Progress
8. Possible Questions
9. References

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 
After going through this unit, you will be able to:
Know about Late Childhood stage.
Describe the characteristics of Late Childhood stage.
Explain the hazards of Late Childhood.
Illustrate the Educational Importance of this stage.


INTRODUCTION


In unit 4 we have learnt about the early childhood. This unit deal with the late childhood stage. Every stage of development of human life has its own unique qualities and significance. Each stage is interlinked with the later one. The previous stage glides into another quietly and smoothly. But when we reach the end of one-stage, we find it different from that of the previous one. The stage of late childhood is a sort of pseudo maturity, because at this stage, the child has achieved a good degree of adaptation to his or her environment as compared with the children of the early childhood stage. We have discussed earlier the distinction between the quantitative aspect of growth and the qualitative aspect of development. Regarding the quantitative aspect, the later childhood or late childhood stage covers the age group of 6 to 12 years.

The purpose of this unit is to familiarise you with the late childhood stage, its important characteristics, common hazards of this stage as well as some guiding principles that the parents and the teachers must follow in order to handle the children belonging to this period.
 

LATE CHILDHOOD STAGE


Late Childhood extends from the age of 6 years to 12 years, beginning with the child’s entry into formal schooling and ending in the advent of puberty. This is the period of excellence and pseudo - maturity. New interests develop for the child and besides some maturity in sex; the child also develops certain amount of physical and mental growth. As regards sex, it remains dormant, but it emerges with great force at the end of this stage. This stage, is therefore, called ‘latency period’.

At both its beginning and end, late childhood is marked by conditions that profoundly affect a child’s personal and social adjustments. The beginning of late childhood is marked by the child’s entrance into first grade in school. For most of the young children, this is a major change in the pattern of their lives, even when they have had a year or more of experience in some pre-school institution. Entrance into first grade is a milestone in every child’s life; therefore it is responsible for many of the changes that take place in terms of attitudes, values and behaviour.

Although it is possible to mark off the beginning of late childhood fairly accurately, one cannot be so precise about the time when this period comes to an end because sexual maturity - the criterion used to divide childhood from adolescence - comes at varying ages. This is because there are marked variations in the ages at which boys and girls become sexually mature. As a result, some children have a longer - than - average late childhood, while for others it is shorter than the average.

Parents, educators and psychologists apply various names to the late childhood and these names reflect the important characteristics of the period. Parents’ name this period as – the troublesome age and quarrelsome age; educators call it as - elementary school age and critical period, and psychologists named the late childhood as - gang age, creative age and play age.

LET US KNOW

Late Childhood Stage
This stage extends from 6 - 12 years.
Period of excellence and Pseudo - maturity.
The stage is called latency period.
It is marked by profound affect on child’s personal and social adjustment.
It is a stage of physical development.
It is the entry stage in first grade in elementary school.
It is also named as elementary school age.
This period can be termed as troublesome age and quarrelsome age.
This period can also be termed as - gang or creative or play age.

 
CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

1. State whether the following statements are true or false.
1. Early childhood extends from 6 - 12 years.
2. It is a stage of marked sexual maturity.
3. Parents name this stage age creative age.
4. Educators name the late childhood stage elementary school age.
5. Psychologists name this period troublesome age.


Characteristics of Late Childhood Stage


Characteristics of development help us to understand the period in a better way. Let us discuss the characteristics of the late childhood. Late Childhood stage carries the major potentialities and prospects of an individual to make him fully grown up to manhood in the later stage. The distinguishing marks of such changes and development may be shown below -

A period of Physical Development -

This is the period of slow and uniform growth. Physical growth follows a predictable pattern, although variations do occur. Body build affects both the height and weight of a child in late childhood. The bones harden; the height and weight increase at this stage and there is improvement in a child motor development, skill and endurance. A child at this stage is physically restless. He must engage himself in one or the other activity. The child develops skills like - self-help skills, social-help skills, school skills and play skills. Apart from doing his or her own works the child becomes able to help others in this stage. At school, the child develops the skills needed in writing, drawing, painting, clay modeling, sewing etc. The children also develop skills like - throwing, catching, riding a bicycle, swimming etc. By the end of the late childhood stage, a child normally has twenty - eight of the thirty - two permanent teeth. The last four - the wisdom teeth erupt during adolescence.

A period of Development of Intellectual Ability -

This is an age of intellectual advancement. Intellectual activities are clearly visible at this stage. The child is in a position to exercise his or her power of memory, attention, thinking and imagination and can solve problems intelligently. His knowledge and experience not merely remain receptive but gradually take the creative turn in the late childhood stage. The child is intellectually an alive and active individual. I.Q. at this stage developed considerably and by the end of this stage it becomes stable.

A period of Capacity to Learn -

The child acquires mental readiness to learn at this stage. He can pay attention to and develop interest in reading, writing and arithmetical activities. He shows awareness and sense of subordination to the school rules, laws and discipline. A sense of discipline and some sense of responsibility to school work find are acquired by him. He tries to learn new knowledge and experience through imitation.

A period of Social Development -

The late childhood stage is also a stage of socialisation of the ego-centric nature of the child. The primary school provides an ideal situation for such socialisation. The child’s social environment and its functions are widening. Both the classroom and the play ground situations train him how to feel, think and act together with others, share joy and sorrow with them. He also learns some of the social rules and norms through active participation in society. The child at this stage is engaged in social interaction and learns the spirit of sharing with others.

Development of Extrovert Nature -

Child’s nature of behaviour, thought and activity at this stage can be described as extrovert or external minded. He is more attracted to external situations and takes pleasure in active participation in them. He has no occasion to feel bored, anxious or worried over any problems of his personal life. External world and its situations are extremely interesting and stimulating to him. He devotes all his energy and attention to them.

It is a Play Age -


The extrovert nature naturally makes the child playful. The social situation provided in school develops his natural tendency to play. Group play and group activity make the child more social, loyal and disciplined. He is usually attracted to the school on account of the play situation provided by it. He begins to acquire social virtues like friendship, co-operation and competition in group play with his own age mates. His individualistic and ego-centric nature at this stage is substantially reduced at this stage and instead he would love to live in groups when the children engage themselves in play activities. For these reasons this stage is termed as “Play Age”.

It is a Gang Age -

Social senses urge the boys and girls to live an organised group life. They develop a strong sense of loyalty to the gang. They form certain rules and code of conduct of the gang and uphold them quite faithfully and obediently. They select their leader and owe the sense of subordination to him. In case the leader appears to be unacceptable, they discharge him and select a new leader. This sense of organised group life may be observed in children in the late childhood stage. As such, late childhood is often referred as “Gang - age”.

A period of Emotional Development -


Children at this stage discover that expression of emotions, especially the unpleasant emotions, is socially unacceptable to their age-mates. As a result they acquire a strong incentive to learn to control the outward expressions of their emotions. Characteristically, emotional expressions in late childhood are pleasant ones compared with the early childhood stage. A normal child at this stage believes in the sharing of love and affections. At this stage children also experience such emotions like - anger, fear, joy, anxiety etc.

A Period of Development of Concepts -

As children’s world expands with their entrance into school, so does children’s interest. With the broadening of interests comes an understanding of people and things which formerly had little or no meaning. Children associate new meanings with old concepts on the basis on what they learn after starting school. In addition, they derive new meanings from the mass media, specially movies, radio and television. The concepts that change most and the new ones most commonly developed in late childhood are associated with- Life, Death, Bodily functions, Space, Numbers, Money, Time, Self, Sex Roles, Social Roles, Beauty, Discipline etc.

Development of Homo-sexuality -


The sex life of the late childhood stage is described as homo-sexual. Boys and girls at this stage feel the sense of their physical attachment to their same sexes. Boys love playing with the boys and the girls with the girls. They remain quite indifferent to the opposite sex. Co-education is no problem to the teacher. At the later part of the late childhood stage boys and girls begin to develop a some what critical outlook towards the opposite sex.

Development of Constructive Instincts -

The instinctive tendencies of a child are in the process of modification and development through training during late childhood. His sense of curiosity is largely satisfied by the formal education in school. Self assertive instinct makes the child more competitive. Instinct of construction may take the creative turn through hand-work, craft-work, and drawing. Gregarious instinct may be satisfied through collective games and sports. The instinctive restlessness of the child is substantially removed at this stage.

A period of development of Interests -

At the time of entrance to the primary school the child does not have any specific interest in mind. In the late childhood stage he however, develops acquired interest and sentiment towards specific subjects and fields of activity. A growing sense of liking and disliking makes his choice somewhat critical. His interest in play also appears to be more selective at this stage.

A period of Development of Creativity -

Late childhood is the stage then we can identify the creative talent in a child’s individuality. The native talent, potentiality and prospect inherent in the child may find expression through the suitable outlets provided to him. He no longer remains a blind imitator but gives evidence of his creative ability in thought, feeling and action. He is now in a position to observe anything through the exercise of reasoning and understanding.

A Period of Development in Sex - Role Typing -

Sex - role typing, which begin when children are capable of doing things, now continues with new agencies playing important roles in the typing process. Sex-Roles are patterns of behaviour for members of the two sexes that are approved and accepted by the group with which the individual is identified. ‘Sex Role Typing’ means learning to conform to the approved roles for one’s sex. Children learn to play sex-roles by three common methods, viz. imitation, identification and child - training. Sex role typing has profound and far reaching effects on children’s behaviour.
The forces that play significant roles in the sex - typing process in late childhood are - teachers, school subjects, mass-media, books, peergroups etc. Sex - role typing influences in important ways both the behaviour and self-evaluation of the children. In appeareance, clothing and even in mannerism, children try to create the impression of sex-appropriateness at this stage.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

2. Mention five major characteristics of the late childhood stage in the given space.
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Hazards of Late Childhood


It is important for us to know the hazards associated with this period. Some of the common hazards of late childhood are in fact carry overs from the earlier years, though they often take new forms. Others are new, arising from the changes in the child’s life pattern after entering school. Hazards of Late Childhood can be divided in two major types -
1) Physical Hazards and
2) Psychological Hazards.

Physical Hazards:

Because of the advancement in medical science, there is now much less mortality during late childhood than in the past. However, accidents are a major cause of death among the children. While many of the physical hazards of the earlier years persist into late childhood, their effects on the child’s physical well - being tend to be less severe and less far-reaching than they were earlier. The major physical hazards of late childhood are discussed below -
Illness:

Since vaccines against most childhood diseases are now available, older children suffer mainly from occasional colds and stomach upsets. The psychological effects of illness in late childhood can be serious. Illness makes children irritable, demanding, and difficult to live with. If they are sick for a long period of time, their school work may suffer and they may fall behind their peers in the learning skills. And even in some cases, parents may become intolerant in their attitudes towards the illness of their children, complaining about the extra work and the expense the illnesses entail.

While most illness at the late childhood stage are real, some are imaginary or ‘faked’. The children sometime pretend illness. They slowly children learn that when they are ill, they are not expected to carryout their regular activities, home disciplines are relaxed, and they get more attention than usual. As a result, sometimes they repeat this technique, ‘Imaginary or faked illness’, for avoiding regular activities or unpleasant task.
Obesity:

Obesity in older children may be due to a glandular condition but it is more often due to overeating. Studies of fat children have revealed that they eat faster, take bigger bites and are more likely to ask for second or third helping than their age-mates.
Obesity in older children is a physical hazard to their health. Obesity children are more prone to diabetes, they lack in socialization and lack in taking part in the active games. They also display lack of interest in acquiring different play skills etc. In addition, their playmates often tease them, calling them by different funny names which make them feel inferior.
Sex Inappropriate Body Build: Sometimes girls with masculine body builds and boys with girlish physiques are likely to the rediculed by their peers and pitied by adults. This leads to personal and social maladjustments. By contrast, a sex-appropriate body builds aids to good adjustment.
Accidents:

Even when accidents leave no permanent physical scar, they can and often do, leave psychological scars. Older children, like the younger, who experience more than their share of accidents, usually learn to be more cautious. Later on, this may lead to timidity on their part concerning all physical activities and may even spread to other areas of behaviour. When this happens it develops into a generalized shyness that affects social relationships, school work and personalities. And sometime accidents may leave permanent physical scar, which will develop physical as well psychological problems and maladjustments for the children.
Physical Disabilities:

Many physical disabilities occur as an aftereffect of an accident and thus are more common among boys than girls. The seriousness of the after effect of an accident depends on the degree of the disability and on the way others treat the child, specially the members of the peer group.

Most disabled children become inhibited and ill at ease in social situations. As a result they make poor social adjustments and this affects their personal adjustments.
Awkwardness:

Even As older children begin to compare themselves with their age mates, they often discover that their awkwardness and clumsiness prevent them from doing what their playmates do or from keeping pace with them in play. As a result, they start to think of themselves as inferior to their playmates.
Because the motor skills play such an important role in children’s play and at school, the clumsy children find themselves in many situations where their awkwardness is apparent to themselves and to others. This reinforces their feeling of inadequacy which, in time, lays the foundations for an inferiority complex.


CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

3. Mention the major physical hazards of late childhood.
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Psychological Hazards:

The psychological hazards of the late childhood stage are mainly the ones that affect children’s social adjustments, around which the major developmental tasks of this period are centered. They have a powerful influence on children’s personal adjustments and on their developing personalities. The most important psychological hazards of late childhood are discussed below -

 
Speech Hazards -

There are four common speech hazards in late childhood -

1) A smaller than average vocabulary handicaps children in their school works as well as in their communications with others;

2) Speech errors, such as mis-pronunciation and grammatical mistakes, and speech defects, such as stuttering or lisping;

3) Children who have difficulty speaking the language used in their school environment may be handicapped in their efforts to communicate and may be made to feel that they are “different”;

4) Egocentric speech and critical comments.
Emotional Hazards -

Children are considered immature by both age mates and adults if they continue to show unacceptable patterns of emotional expression, such as temper tantrum; and if such unpleasant emotions as anger and jealousy are so dominant in them that the children become disagreeable and unpleasant to be with.
Social Hazards -

There are five types of children whose adjustments are affected by social hazards. First, children who are rejected or neglected by their peer group. They are deprived of opportunities to learn to be social. Second, the voluntary isolates who have little in common with their peer group. They come to think of themselves as having no chance of acceptance by the peers. Third, socially or geographically mobile, the children who find the acceptance by already formed gangs difficult. Fourth, the children against whom there is group prejudice because of their race or religion. And, fifth, the children become resentful and disgruntled group members because they want to be leaders of the group rather than the followers.
Play Hazards -

Children who lack social acceptance are deprived of opportunities to learn the games and sports which are essential for them to belong to their gang. Children are sometimes fond of fantasizing or day dreaming about some desirable events which are unlikely to happen. Sometimes they are discouraged from fantasizing because the parents find it to be a “waste of time”. They may also be discouraged from taking part in games and sports or creative activities. Such children may develop the habit of being rigid conformist.
Conceptual Hazards -

Children who have idealized self-concepts are usually dissatisfied with themselves as they are and with the way others treat them. When their social concepts are based on stereotypes, they tend to become prejudiced and discriminatory in their treatment of others. Because such concepts are emotionally weighted, they are likely to persist and to continue to affect children’s social adjustments unfavourably.
Moral Hazards -

Six hazards are commonly associated with the development of moral attitudes and behaviour in late childhood. They are -

1) The development of a moral code based on peer or mass - media concepts of right and wrong which may not coincide with adult codes;

2) A failure to develop a conscience as an inner control over behaviour;

3) Inconsistent discipline which leaves children unsure of what they are expected to do;

4) Physical punishment which serves as a model of aggressiveness in children;

5) Finding peer approval of misbehavior so satisfying that such behaviour becomes habitual; and

6) Intolerance of the wrong-doings of others.
Hazards Associated with childhood Interests -

There are two common hazards associated with childhood interests; first, children may be uninterested in the things that their age - mates regard as important and, second, they may develop unfavourable attitudes toward some interests that would be valuable to them, as in the case of health or school.
Hazards in Sex - Role Typing -

There are two common hazards in sex-role typing in late childhood-

1) Failure to learn the elements of the sex roles their age- mates regard as appropriate, and
2) unwillingness to play the approved sex roles.
Family - Relationship Hazards -

Conflicts among family members have two serious effects on children -
1) It weakens the family ties, and
2) Such children carry this problem outside the home and thus become socially maladjusted.
Hazards in Personality Development -

There are two serious hazards in personality development in late childhood: first, the development of an unfavourable self-concept, which leads to self - rejection and, second, the carry-over of ego-centrism from early childhood. Egocentrism is serious because it gives children a false sense of their importance.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

4. Mention five major Psychological Hazards of the Childhood
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ROLE OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS TOWARDS THE ADOLESCENTS


We have already discussed the major aspects of the late childhood stage. Now we will discuss the educational importance of this period. This stage is known as the formative age of the child. The child develops his basic outlook, values and ideas. As such parents, teachers and social workers have an important role to play in making the late childhood stage a happy period in the life of the child.
They can adopt the following steps -
 
Healthy atmosphere -

Both parents and teachers must take good care about the home as well school atmosphere. They must be able to provide a healthy and secured atmosphere to child where his all round development is possible. The home for the child should be sweet and secured. The child should feel secured at school also.
Proper Physical Development -

  • Ample opportunities must be provided by home and mainly by school for proper physical development of the child. For proper physical development of thechild, the school can take the following steps -

  • Morning physical exercise should be made compulsory in the school.

  • Facilities for both indoor and outdoor games must be provided by the school.

  • Evening games must be well organised. Children should be encouraged to take part in those games in which they are interested.

  • Special care must be taken by the teachers in the selection of the games and such games are to be selected as the children in the development of theirsmall and large muscles.
Organising Extra - Neural Activities -

These activities satisfy various social and intellectual needs of the children at this stage. The children improve most of their skills in this stage and they also have the required energy. As such, these extra-neural activities are helpful in both these aspects for the child.
Organising Group Competitions -

Children at this stage are interested in activities with their peers and want to belong to the gangs. The group feeling is strong at this stage due to the growth of social instinct. Schools must organise group competitions for the children. Participation by children in these group competitions help in their development of the social and personal qualities such as - discipline, self - confidence, self - control, cooperation, sympathy, friendliness, helplessness, adjustability etc. These group competitions are also helpful for child’s vocabulary development.
Proper Emotional Development -

Older children learn to control the overt expressions of their emotions, but they do not develop the full control of it. The child at this stage has emotional problems. Their problems have to be solved by the elders and the teachers. They should handle properly the emotions of anger, fear, jealousy etc. of the child. They should try to remove the hurdles which annoy the child and lead to his anger. Parents and teachers may also try to care the children of their basic fears and enlighten them that such fears are not well founded. Children should be encouraged to get rid of unfounded fears and to develop a balanced mental make-up.
Developing the Creative Talent -

The creative instinct of the child also manifests itself at this stage. The natural desire of the child is to create something new, something great. Children should be encouraged to express talent by organizing events like school exhibitions, wall magazines, Bal Melas, School Fete, Science exhibitions etc. where they may take part.
Moral Training -

In late childhood, most children develop moral codes influenced by the moral standards of the groups with which they are identified. As such, the child formulates his own moral ideal. As it is a formative period of human life, it is necessary that parents as well as teachers and the neighbourhood impart lesson to the child that would teach him about spiritual as well as religious and moral values. For this, children should be acquainted with the lives of the great man of the world.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

5. What steps can the teachers take for the child’s all round development in late childhood stage ? (Mention any four steps)

 

LET US SUM UP


 
From the above discussions and explanations on the late childhood stage, the following are the basic ideas that we have found from the unit:
The late childhood stage, which extends from 6 to 12 years of age, is labelled by parents as the “troublesome” or “quarrelsome” age, by educators as the “elementary school” age and by psychologists as the “gang age” or “creative age” or play age”.
In the late childhood a stage, there is a slow and relatively even physical growth of the child. It is influenced by many factors.
It is a period of excellence and pseudo – maturity. It has profound effect on the child’s personal and social adjustment.
The major characteristics of late childhood are -

  • A period of Physical Development.
  • A period of Development of Intellectual ability.
  • A period of Capacity to learn.
  • A period of Social Development.
  • Development of Extrovert nature.
  • It is a play age.
  • It is a Gang age.
  • A period of Emotional development.
  • A period of development of concepts.
  • Development of Homo-Dexuality.
  • Development of constructive Instincts.
  • A period of Development of Interests.
  • A period of Development of Creativity.
  • A period of Development in Sex - Role Typing.
This stage also has some hazards, they are -

a) Physical hazards -
  • Illness
  • Obesity
  • Sex - Inappropriate Body Build
  • Accidents
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Awkwardness
  b) Psychological Hazards -

  • Speech Hazards
  • Emotional Hazards
  • Social Hazards
  • Play Hazards
  • Conceptual Hazards
  • Moral Hazards
  • Hazards Associated with Interests
  • Hazards in Sex - Role Typing
  • Family - Relationship Hazards
  • Hazards in Personality Development.
As this stage is a very important period of human life, so parents and teachers have a great role to play regarding the all round development of the child. They can take following steps for the child’s all-round development -
  • Healthy Atmosphere
  • Proper Physical Development
  • Organising Extra - Neural Activities
  • Organising Group Competitions
  • Proper Emotional Development
  • Developing the Creative Talent
  • Moral Training


FURTHER READINGS


  • Aggarwal, J.C.; : Essentials of Educational Psychology, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi,
  • Bhatia, K.K.; : Foundation of Child Development, Kalyani Publishers, New Delhi,
  • Goswamee, Dr. G., : Child Development and Child Care, Arun Prakashan, Guwahati.

ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


 
 
1 i) T, ii) F, iii) F, iv) T, v) F
2 i) A period of Physical Development.
ii) A period of Development of Intellectual ability.
iii) A period of capacity to learn.
iv) A period of social development.
v) It is a gang age.
3 i) Illness
ii) Obesity
iii) Sex-Inappropriate Body Build
iv) Accidents
v) Physical Disabilities
vi) Awkwardness
4. i) Speech hazards
ii) Emotional hazards
iii) Social hazards
iv) Play hazards
v) Conceptual hazards
5 i) Healthy atmosphere at home and school.
ii) Organizing Extra - Neural Activities
iii) Organising group competitions
iv) Moral training

POSSIBLE QUESTIONS



 
  • Which period of the life of a child is called the late childhood stage? How is it different from the early childhood. Discuss.

  • Discuss the major characteristics of late childhood stage.

  • Discuss the common hazards of late childhood stage.

  • “It is a formative period of life” - Why is late childhood called a formative period of life? What is the role of the teacher towards the child in late childhood stage? Discuss.

REFERENCES

  • Aggarwal, J.C. : Essentials of Educational Psychology. Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. new Delhi,

  • Bhatia, K.K. : Foundation of Child Development. Kalyani Publishers, New Delhi,

  • Bhatia and Bhatia : A Textbook of Educational Psychology. Doaba House, Delhi,

  • Bhatia, Safaya & Shukla : Modern Educational Psychology Dhanpat Rai Publishing Company, New Delhi, Revised.

  • Hurlock, E.B. : Child Growth and Development, TATA McGRAW-HILL Publishing Company LTD., New Delhi, 5th Edition,

  • Hurlock, E.B. : Developmental Psychology, A Life-Span Approach, TATA McGRAW-HILL Publishing Company LTD., New Delhi, 5th Edition,

  • Mangal, Dr. S.K. : Psychological Foundations of Education. Parkash Brothers, Ludhiana,

  • Goswamee, Dr. G., : Child Development and Child Care, Arun Prakashan, Guwahati - 1.