The schoolchild and mental development

Children of primary school age are distinct moralists. ‘That is not fair’ is on their lips at all times, and when something does not proceed exactly according to plan, they are upset. Also, while playing it is noticeable that the child likes to use fixed rules: children over the age of six prefer to play party games. The stage of discovering oneself has passed, so a child of six is no longer troubled with proving himself or herself. From here on everything is directed towards what boyfriends or girlfriends think, have and do. The opposite sex is ‘stupid’ or ‘boring’ and only the behaviour belonging to the same sex is ‘practised’. A last important step in the general linguistic development of the child is in learning to read and write. Drawing as a means of expression gradually decreases. The child also becomes less imaginative and gains more interest in ‘true’ reality. Relating all sorts of realities or changing this reality fascinates them, as well as ‘discovering’ all sorts of things.

The child also gradually learns to think more logically, to reason abstractly, and gains a better memory. The child is now able to become detached from concrete situations or visions, and from this moment on may be preoccupied with things that do not have to be concrete. He or she may be strongly occupied with such thoughts as: imagine that …

Mum and Dad die, that they laugh at me, that I die myself.

That this can be threatening speaks for itself, and very insecure children especially may have a very difficult time during this stage.