In the present book chapter, the authors discuss the important and specific middle childhood developmental milestones. The article mainly elaborates on the physical, cognitive, emotional changes and transformations in social interaction that occur when kids are 6-12 years old. Yet, despite many within-group commonalities of middle childhood developmental milestones, certain crucial processes differ for children of various ages. For instance, six years old would not possess some cognitive abilities that 12 years do. Therefore, this paper seeks to summarize the chapter only from the perspective of children of 8 years old as they constitute the writer’s interest group.
Glowiak and Mayfield maintain that middle childhood is characterized by changes in all the spheres of a young person’s existence, from physical advancement to cognitive and emotional maturity and better social interaction. As for the former, the authors argue that kids experience an increase in height and weight, gain in muscle strength, improvement in fine and gross motor skills, stamina enhancement, and hormonal changes. In the cognitive sphere, based on Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, it is argued that third graders enter the stage of concrete operations. That phase is characterized by the development of concrete (as opposite to abstract) logical thinking, understanding conservation principles of number, mass, length, and area, and mastering inductive reasoning.
In the social sphere, children start to distance themselves from their parents, formulate meaningful relationships with their peers and start recognizing that others may have different views and values (contrary to the preoperational period). Finally, in the emotional context, kids experience a rise in empathy, enhance skills for effective self-regulation, become aware of personal feelings, express untrue sentiments in public, and start developing feelings of personal responsibility and shame.
In my opinion, the book chapter presented by Glowiak and Mayfield provides an extensive and comprehensive review of the main changes that occur during middle childhood. Furthermore, their discussion allows making not only intergroup comparisons but also within-group contrasts. Therefore, I could extract the necessary information on the group of third graders and understand the differences of this age group with other groups.
Glowiak, M. & Mayfield, M. A. (2016). Middle childhood: Physical and cognitive development. In D.
Capuzzi & M. D. Stauffer (Eds.), Human growth and development across the lifespan: Applications for counselors (pp. 354-386). Wiley.