12 things that the 6 year olds taught us about their development on “The secret life of…”

Through four to six years old it is a pivotal age for development of abstract concepts such as death and relationships with friends. As they learn more about their peers they can understand where they fit in and what they believe in, in regards to religion and gender. Also as empathy develops

  1. 6 year olds start to work out who they are relative to other people – understanding their personal identity through race and religion, something that they wern’t interested in before
  2. Understanding what rules mean but not necessarily which are the most important – ” never watch you tube on the train”
  3. Cognitive strategies – in the contest for who was going to be leader mainly the girls were able to think more about desirable characteristics for leader. However, Kash decided that power and strength were the most important and so an arm wrestle would be best to sort out who to be leader. In the end, Elvin won the vote as he was able to put across that Kash’s method was not right and the children liked that.
  4. Explore gender – little resistance from the girls wearing the “boys” clothes however the boys were a little more guarded about wearing the “girls” clothes. Stepping across the divide helps children to understand what gender really means. This can be met with resistance from a few children who want to stick to the stereotypes.
  5. Death is seen as temporary or irreversible – a very abstract concept and as you can’t see what happens after death many of the children cant comprehend it
  6. Labelling emotions as they happen – Beatrice does this when she is sad about losing the tug of war game. This helps her to learn about her emotions and to then control them
  7. playing with concepts they don’t fully understand such as fancying someone – this is played out by Elouisa playing kiss chase with the boys
  8. individual personality characteristics really start to develop – this is shown through the children’s reactions to consequences of rules being broken. Elvin catastrophesises as he believes he has let his best friend and his parents down which a really sophisticated emotional reaction and verbalisation.
  9. understanding of what personality characteristics are desirable or not – not choosing Kash as the team leader
  10. Better ability to continue a friendship across a break 
  11. They understand current affairs – international terrorism comes across in their play so it is important to talk to children about these events so they understand what it all means
  12. Knowing how to make someone happier – not just saying sorry but an action that would show the other that they care and that they are sorry. This is shown when Elvin apologises to Beatrice and then introduces a new game of minecraft.

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