Psychologist Erik Erikson describes children ages 6 to 8 as being in the "stage of industry."
In the early grades, they generally show big leaps in development that allow them to take on new tasks and learning opportunities. However, they still need experiences to help them develop socially, emotionally and physically.According to authors Toni Bickart, Diane Trister Dodge and Judy R. Jablon, the principles that make learning effective in the early grades include:
Learning is active: Children are doers, ready to explore the world around them. Hands-on experiences enable children to move from the concrete to more abstract levels of learning.
Learning is challenging: Work that is too easy for children fails to motivate them; work that is too hard defeats them. A balance is necessary. Challenging work requires time to study and explore issues in depth and should be accompanied by encouraging messages from teachers and parents.
Learning is varied: Assignments and lessons should not all look alike or require the same kind of effort. Children have different learning styles.
Learning is meaningful: Meaningful learning engages children because they see its connection to the real world. Current research about how the brain functions confirms that human beings remember more when they know why they are learning something and when they can connect it to something they already know.
Learning is collaborative: Collaborative learning takes place formally when children work with one or more classmates on a task with specific goals in mind.
Learning is a shared responsibility: The family, the teacher and the child must all contribute to the learning process.