The Characteristics of Middle Childhood

The Morphological and functional aspect

At the end of early childhood, there is a significant growth spurt in stature, an unbalanced thrust ranging from 15 to 20 cm in 2 years while the weight gain does not exceed 3 to 4 kg per year. The increase in size relates mainly to the lower limbs and there is also a marked growth in the face, the child then takes the aspect called “asparagus” because it is lean and the proportions are disharmonious. The limbs are too long for a trunk which develops relatively little.

The evolution of nerve structures is positioned, there is therefore an improvement in overall motor coordination. Balance is assured and skill predominates at the extremities, but spinal control is not yet acquired. Working in speed can then be considered to optimize the coordination factors.

On the other hand, scientific study shows that the anaerobic lactic pathway is immature in children. It is therefore not desirable to request it. This functional handicap is balanced by very strong activation of the anaerobic sector at the start of the exercise.

Cognitive development

There is overall motor availability, more sustained attention and immobility become possible for a fairly long time. Around 11/12 years old, the young child shows a lot of confidence in his gestures, experiences joy in moving well, and the structuring of his body diagram is practically achieved. It is only after 12 years that the child is able to identify relevant clues in the environment.

Finally, studies show that at 11 years of age, control over action is identical to that of adults.

Emotional development

In addition to a renewed interest in schooling and extracurricular activities, we note the appearance of the desire for competition, the need for justice, initiative, and above all relative independence, an essential concept in the school environment as in the playgroup in sports club.

The concept of goal appears with them which can be divided into two: the goal of mastery or competition (goal of result).

The goal of mastery is to increase your skill and abilities or aptitudes. The comparison is made only with oneself to clearly identify in the child his own progression.

The goal of competition or result is characterized by the child’s desire to compare himself to others in order to demonstrate his abilities.

Between 9 and 12 years old, the goals are mixed. Children seek both social approval and mastery of the global or specific motor act. After 12 years, the goals are clear and differentiated. It appears that girls are moving towards mastery goals while boys seem to opt mainly for results goals. However, these goals can be pursued simultaneously.

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