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Feb 26, 2011

Age Characteristics of Young Learners

The Eighteen-Month-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• Walks, climbs, crawls, and runs. Enjoys pushing and pulling things. Is able to take things apart more easily than he or she can put them together. Is uncoordinated. Tires easily. Is usually not toilet trained.
• Makes many sounds. Has developing language skills. Uses one-word phrases, particularly “mine” and “no.” Gathers knowledge through sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Understands more than he or she can express.
• Enjoys playing alongside other children, but often does not interact with them. Has difficulty sharing.
• Cries easily, but emotions change quickly.

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• • Vary activities to keep the child’s interest. Use activities that involve walking, pushing, and pulling. Use finger plays and musical activities.
• • Provide many opportunities for talking and participation. Use visuals with stories. Provide objects the child can move and experiment with, such as stacking toys, simple puzzles, dolls, and figures of people and animals.

The Two-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• Is very active. Jumps, walks, and runs. Can clap hands and kick a ball. Can handle small objects, but cannot button or zip clothing or care for himself or herself in other ways. Gets irritable and restless when tired.
• Is able to put two or three words together in a sentence. Says “no” often, even when he or she does not mean it. Has simple, direct thoughts. Cannot reason. Can make simple choices. Enjoys repetition. Has a short attention span (two or three minutes). Is curious. Moves from one activity to another. Likes simple toys, art materials, books, short stories, and music activities.
• Likes to play alone. Is developing an interest in playing with others, but is usually more interested in playing near them than with them. Often argues over toys. Has difficulty sharing and cooperating. Asks adults for things he or she wants from another child.
• Is loving and affectionate. Enjoys sitting on laps and holding hands. Likes to be close to his or her mother. Uses emotional outbursts to express emotions, to get what he or she wants, and to show anger and frustration. Has moods that change quickly. Likes independence.

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• Use activities such as finger plays and those that use music. Provide activities such as beanbag tossing, marching, and jumping. Avoid activities that require skill and coordination, such as cutting and pasting.
• Keep discussions simple. Help the child participate. Use repetition. Do not leave the child alone; children this age can easily get themselves into unsafe situations. Provide opportunities for the child to make choices.
• Provide opportunities for the child to interact with others, but do not pressure the child to do so. Offer the choice to participate in activities. Provide warm, caring direction. Redirect misbehavior.
• Encourage the child to be self-sufficient, but provide help when necessary. Allow the child to practice making choices.

The Three-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• Walks and runs, but is still uncoordinated. Likes doing things with his or her hands but does them awkwardly.
• Has more language skills. Likes to talk and learn new words. Has a short attention span. Is curious and inquisitive. Often misunderstands and makes comments that seem off the subject. Enjoys pretending. Likes finger plays, stories, and musical activities. Is unable to distinguish fantasy from reality.
• Enjoys working alone. Does not engage in much cooperative play with others, but likes to have friends around. Is self-centered. Has difficulty sharing. Prefers to be close to adults, particularly family, because they provide security.
• Wants to please adults. Needs their approval, love, and praise. Strikes out emotionally when afraid or anxious. Cries easily. Is sensitive to others’ feelings. Is developing some independence. Has intense, short-lived emotions.
• Is interested in simple concepts, such as….(everybody eats bread?)

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• Use simple activities such as pasting, molding clay, and coloring. Avoid activities that require refined skills and coordination, such as tying or cutting. Be prepared to clean up messes.
• Teach ideas in a simple, clear way. Use summaries and visual materials to reinforce ideas. Encourage questions and responses to the discussion, but have the child take turns with other children. Use a variety of teaching methods such as stories, songs, discussions, dramatizations, finger plays, and simple games. Alternate between quiet and lively activities.
• Show approval and confidence in the child. Avoid criticism. Help the child understand others’ feelings and solve conflicts. Encourage the child to be self-sufficient.

The Four-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• Is very active. Moves quickly. Likes to skip, jump, race, climb, and throw.
• Enjoys talking and learning new words. Asks many questions. Is able to reason a little, but still has many misconceptions. Has trouble separating fact from fantasy. Has a short attention span. Uses artwork to express feelings. Enjoys pretending and role playing.
• Plays more cooperatively with others. Is sometimes physically aggressive, bossy, impolite, and stubborn, but can also be friendly. Is learning to share, accept rules, and take turns. Responds to sincere praise.
• Often tests people’s limits. Is boastful, especially about self and family. May be agreeable one moment and quarrelsome the next. Has more self-confidence. May have fears and feelings of insecurity.
• Is becoming aware of right and wrong, and usually desires to do right. May blame others for his or her wrongdoing.

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• Alternate between quiet and lively activities. Model appropriate ways to express emotions.
• Use discussions and activities that will encourage thinking, such as simple riddles and guessing games. Clarify misunderstandings. Use pictures, objects, and actual experiences. Introduce new words. Have the child draw pictures that relate to lessons. Accept and encourage the child’s creative efforts. Allow the child to explore his or her surroundings. Use role-playing activities.
• Provide opportunities for the child to play and work cooperatively with others. Teach kindness, patience, and politeness. Help the child follow simple rules such as taking turns.
• Establish and firmly follow limits.

The Five-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child
• Is very active. Has a good sense of balance, and is becoming more coordinated. Can kick a ball, walk in a straight line, hop, skip, and march. Enjoys drawing, coloring, and participating in activities and games. Is learning to lace and tie shoes and button and zip clothing.
• Recognizes some letters, numbers, and words. Likes to pretend to read and write. May be learning to read. Is talkative. Asks questions, makes comments, and gives answers that show increased understanding. Is good at problem solving. Is curious and eager for facts. Is beginning to distinguish truth from fantasy. Has a short but increasing attention span.
Likes definite tasks. Enjoys jokes and tricks, but cannot laugh at himself or herself. Likes stories, singing, poetry, and dramatizations.
• Is friendly and eager to please and cooperate. Is beginning to prefer being in small groups of children, but may prefer a best friend. Creates less conflict in group play. Is beginning to want to conform, and is critical of those who do not. Is beginning to understand rules, but often tries to change them for his or her benefit.
• Centers interests on home and family. Is affectionate toward adults, and wants to please them. Gets embarrassed easily, especially by his or her own mistakes.
• Wants to be good. Is learning the difference between right and wrong. Sometimes tells untruths or blames others for his or her own wrongdoings because of an intense desire to please adults and do what is right.

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• Engage the child in physical activities. Use simple games and other activities. Allow the child to cut and paste and to put puzzles together. Allow for independence. Express confidence in the child. Accept and encourage the child’s efforts.
• Allow the child to talk and ask questions. Allow him or her to read simple words and phrases. Use wordstrips for simple words. Assign simple tasks and responsibilities. Use drawing activities, true-to-life stories, and visual materials. Vary activities, using pictures, games, songs, and discussions. Use problem-solving activities such as riddles and discussion questions. Allow the child to pretend, dramatize, and use puppets. Laugh with the child.
• Help the child learn the value of individual differences.
• Frequently teach the value and importance of the family. Give the child an opportunity to share feelings about his or her family. Give specific praise for positive behavior. Avoid activities or expressions that might embarrass the child.
• Model appropriate behavior. Do not be shocked if the child says something that is untrue or inappropriate.

The Six-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• Is very active. Is often noisy, restless, and exuberant. Likes to participate in activities and perform small tasks, though they still may be difficult to do. Dislikes being a spectator.
• Needs concepts taught in concrete ways. Has improving memory. Is talkative, and asks many questions. Is learning to make decisions, but often is indecisive. Has an increasing attention span. Likes reading, writing, singing, hearing stories, and pretending.
• Is more interested in group activities and interacting with playmates, but is still self-centered. Is sometimes bossy, aggressive, and unkind to peers. Is concerned with how others treat him or her. Is eager for social approval.
• Is boastful. Exaggerates and criticizes. Is easily excited, silly, and giggly. Can be generous, affectionate, and compatible, but mood can change easily.

• Is concerned with good and bad behavior, particularly as it affects family and friends. Sometimes blames others for wrongdoings. Likes scripture stories, especially those about Jesus.

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• Be patient with the child’s abundant energy and restlessness. Use activities such as writing, coloring, cutting, pasting, and molding clay. Use games that allow the child to use his or her energy.
• Use problem-solving activities such as riddles, reviews, and open-ended stories. Use pictures, flannel cutouts, and other visual materials. Introduce new words. Ask questions. Allow the child to make decisions. Discuss the importance of choosing the right, and allow the child to practice making decisions with limited choices. Provide opportunities for reading, writing, singing, hearing stories, and role playing.
• Encourage sharing and participation with others. Provide opportunities for group activities. Give specific praise and approval.
• Praise the child’s specific efforts so he or she feels less need to boast. Praise honesty. Do not criticize. Laugh with him or her, but do not laugh at him or her.

The Seven-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• • Has better muscular control. Is developing interest and skills in certain games, hobbies, and activities. Gets restless and fidgety. Has nervous habits, and sometimes assumes awkward positions. Is full of energy, but tires easily.
• • Is eager to learn. Thinks seriously and more logically. Is able to solve problems that are more complex. Likes to be challenged, work hard, and take time completing a task. Has a good attention span. Enjoys hobbies and using skills. Likes to collect things and talk about personal projects and accomplishments.
• • Often plays in groups, but sometimes likes to be alone and play quietly. Interacts little with the opposite sex. Is eager to be like peers and have their approval. Is less domineering and less determined to have his or her own way. Likes more responsibility and independence. Is often worried about not doing well.
• • Dislikes criticism. Is more sensitive to his or her own feelings and those of other people. Is often a perfectionist, and tends to be self-critical. Is inhibited and cautious. Is less impulsive and self-centered than at earlier stages.
• • Is aware of right and wrong.

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• Use activities that allow the child to use his or her energy. Be patient with annoyances and restlessness, and do not draw attention to awkwardness. Use varied techniques to help maintain the child’s interest and prevent misbehavior. Compliment good behavior.

• Ask thought-provoking questions. Use open-ended stories, riddles, thinking games, and discussions to stimulate thinking. Allow the child to make decisions. Give him or her plenty of time to accomplish tasks. Encourage the child to pursue hobbies and interests. Provide opportunities to read wordstrips and stories. Use stories and situations that deal with reality rather than fiction.
• Use activities that require group play, such as games and dramatizations, but respect the child’s desire to work alone occasionally. Do not force interaction with the opposite sex. Praise him or her for positive behavior such as taking turns and sharing. Give the child responsibilities and tasks that he or she can carry out, and then praise efforts and accomplishments.
• Encourage concern for others. Build confidence. Instead of criticizing, look for opportunities to show approval and affection. Accept moods and aloofness. Encourage the child to express his or her feelings.

The Eight-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• Is becoming more coordinated. Wiggles and squirms. Has nervous habits. Plays organized games that require physical skill. Has a good attention span. Wants to be included.
• Wants to know the reasons for things. Is anxious to share his or her knowledge. Thinks he or she knows much, but is beginning to recognize that others may know even more. Is judgmental. Has heroes. Enjoys writing, reading, and pretending.
• Enjoys group play with simple rules. Prefers to be with own gender in group play. Is more cooperative and less insistent on having his or her own way. Wants to have a best friend. Has a strong need for independence, but also relies on adults for guidance and security.
• Is usually affectionate, helpful, cheerful, outgoing, and curious, but can also be rude, selfish, bossy, and demanding. Is sensitive to criticism. Criticizes self and others. Is sometimes giggly and silly. Experiences guilt and shame.

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• Use activities that require coordination and allow the child to use his or her energy. Be patient with clumsiness, unpleasant habits, and squirming. Alternate quiet and active periods. Praise good behavior.
• Use games, stories, pictures, and problem-solving activities to encourage learning. Use reading, writing, and role playing. Encourage the child to be more concerned about his or her own behavior than that of others.
• Provide opportunities for group interaction, cooperation, and sharing. Supervise activities closely. Praise the child for positive behavior.
• Show interest and enthusiasm. Praise and build self-confidence; do not criticize or compare the child with other children. Recognize the child’s efforts and accomplishments. Let the child enjoy humor when appropriate, and be patient with giggling.

The Nine-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• Enjoys team games. Has good body control. Is interested in developing strength, skill, and speed. Likes more complicated crafts and handwork.
• Is able to remain interested in subjects or activities for a longer period of time. Seeks facts; does not enjoy much fantasy. Likes memorization. Has definite interests and curiosity. Likes reading, writing, and keeping records. Is interested in the community and other cultures and peoples. Enjoys learning about the past and the present. Likes to collect things.
• Enjoys being with groups of people of the same gender. Likes group adventures and cooperative play, but also likes competition. Tests authority and exercises independence. Spends much time with friends.
• Has some behavior problems, especially if he or she is not accepted by others. Is becoming very independent, dependable, and trustworthy. Is concerned about being fair, and argues over fairness. Is better able to accept his or her own failures and mistakes and take responsibility for personal actions. Is sometimes silly.

• Is well aware of right and wrong. Wants to do right, but sometimes rebels.
Suggestions for Parents and Teachers
• Provide a variety of activities, including team games, to sustain interest and help the child develop skills.
• Give specific information and facts rather than fantasy. Do not give all the answers; allow the child time to think about and discuss answers. Encourage him or her to memorize quotations and scriptures. Respect individual differences when making assignments and giving responsibilities. Provide opportunities for reading, writing, and record keeping. Teach about other people and cultures and about history.
• Recognize the child’s need for peer acceptance. Establish and maintain reasonable limits, but allow for independence.

The Ten- or Eleven-Year-Old
Characteristics of the Child

• May be experiencing rapid growth. Enjoys sports that require strength, speed, and skill. Has periods of playing, pushing, wrestling, poking, and giggling. Is restless, active, and impatient. May differ from peers in physical size and coordination. Does not like to be treated like a child. Is concerned about physical appearance.

• Enjoys abstract concepts and ideas. Makes conclusions based on prior learning. Likes to be challenged in mental tasks. Is decisive and reasonable. Enjoys memorization. Likes to set goals. Thinks more logically. Enjoys learning. Has a good attention span. Understands more precisely the meanings of words, and can define abstract terms. Has humor that may seem ridiculous to adults.
• Is social and competitive. Possesses strong loyalty to groups. Has much positive and negative interaction with peers. Has friendships that are more complex and intense. Relies on best friends. Values peers’ opinions and standards more highly than those of adults. Is sometimes critical of adults’ judgments and of others’ feelings. Likes to tease or play roughly. Is sometimes rude and uncooperative, and at other times is friendly and cooperative.
• Is critical of self and resentful of others’ criticism. May feel that everything he or she does is wrong, especially if criticized. Has worries and fears about school and friends. Is very sensitive, especially about self. Has doubts and insecurities. Is sometimes touchy and irritable, and is very conscious of being treated fairly. Is able to be polite, serious, honest, and sincere. Desires to be independent and have responsibilities.
• Has a strong moral sense and conscience. Is interested in self-improvement. Does not like to admit when he or she has behaved badly. Is ready to learn more about the doctrines of the gospel.

Suggestions for Parents and Teachers

• Recognize that he or she is growing and maturing. Do not force interaction with the opposite sex. Provide opportunities for him or her to participate in physical activities that provide outlets for his or her energy. Give little attention to minor misbehavior. Teach fairness and the value of participating in activities. Show interest in his or her life. Value individual differences.
• Stimulate thinking by using questions, stories, memorization, problem-solving activities, and discussions. Allow him or her to make decisions and set goals. Use new words, and allow him or her to define and explain their meanings. Use visuals, stories, and games.
• Respond to the need to belong to groups and be influenced by them. Provide activities that allow interaction with peers. Encourage group planning and group work. Teach him or her to be sensitive to those who are not accepted by others. Give responsibilities and assignments, and help ensure follow-through. Use examples and lessons to teach sensitivity and kindness. Praise courtesy, unselfishness, loyalty, and friendliness.
• Do not compare him or her to others. Encourage him or her, and praise accomplishments. Show confidence in him or her as an individual. Reinforce positive behavior, and try to ignore negative acts of small consequence. Allow for independence and expression of personal feelings. Try to understand his or her worries and what makes him or her unhappy.

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