Stages of Childhood
Middle childhood is the period of the child's life that spans ages six to twelve years. It is a developmental stage referred to as the school years, because almost every culture worldwide considers these children ready and eager to learn. In fact, children in this age span are able, from a mental point of view, to deal systematically with many variables simultaneously. Speed and distance, for instance, can be successfully manipulated, so that mathematical problems can be solved. School-age children possess more refined levels of linguistic proficiency, develop new abilities to think more deeply and logically, and are more consistent and perseverant when they try to solve a problem. This is also the period of the emergence of a global sense of self-worth, and the period in which gender segregation in peer relationships becomes virtually complete. The fact that schooling begins at this age seems to reflect an implicit or explicit recognition of this essential shift in the period of the child's development.