Elementary School is an action-packed time, full of learning and development. Your grade school age child will learn to read, and transition to reading to learn. They will mature emotionally and physically as they grow more independent and reach toward adolescence. Elementary School children will gain more control over their own body and impulses and will expand their understanding of the world around them.
Elementary children notice that words are all around — in books, at the supermarket, at the bus stop and in their homes. They play with language by creating silly rhymes and nonsense words. While this is usually great fun, it is also a very important step in learning to read.
Teachers read a variety of poems, stories, and non-fiction books aloud to children. Elementary children learn that letters and sounds go together to form words, and how to identify alphabet letters and their sounds. Many children are expected to read words by the end of the year.
Counting cubes, number rods, and other math materials help students work with a larger set of numbers. Children also begin to use physical materials to solve simple addition and subtraction problems, like how many cookies they’ll have left after they’ve shared some with a friend. They’ll learn about time, using tools like clocks and calendars regularly in the classroom. While they’re not fully able to tell time or even realize exactly what a month or a second is, they’ll begin to understand that one measures a longer amount of time, and the other a short amount.
In Elementary school, children learn about plants and animals and explore the weather and seasons. Teachers use simple science experiments to introduce children to the process of scientific inquiry. Students are now capable of remembering more information and using it to make connections between things. They can separate toy animals into groups, such as those that are found on the land, sea, or sky; or animals that hatch from eggs and animals that do not.
Students are ready to expand their world beyond their homes and classrooms to the larger neighborhood or community. They learn more about the rules that help people get along with each other. They may begin to form opinions on issues and understand that others may have different points of view — noticing that a classmate didn’t get a turn during a game and letting the teacher know by saying, “That’s not fair!”
Follow & Focus
Children often wonder about complex abstract concepts that they may not be ready to fully comprehend. They may look at a globe and wonder why people don’t fall off the bottom of the Earth, because they aren’t able to really understand gravity. They may imagine that it’s possible to stand on a cloud, even though they know that it’s made up of water droplets.
Children in kindergarten and elementary are becoming more mature in both their thoughts and actions. Your child can usually follow directions from his teacher and focus on tasks. While a preschool teacher may have let children play freely at the block center, a teacher knows that she can ask children to complete a related assignment, such as recreating on paper a pattern that they’ve begun with blocks. Experiences like this help children gain basic skills. They’ll use these basic skills later in their school life when they’re asked to solve a math problem, conduct a science experiment, read a book, or write a story.