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MIDDLE CHILDHOOD: Middle childhood begins at around age seven or eight, approximating primary school age and ends

around puberty, which typically marks the beginning of adolescence. In this period, children are attending school, thus developing socially and mentally. They are at a stage where they make new friends and gain new skills, which will enable them to become more independent and enhance their individuality. PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT IN MIDDLE CHILDHOOD: Heredity, culture, gender nutrition and other factors contribute to the wide variations seen in the physical growth and development of children in middle childhood. Children experience an increase in their height and weight (loss of baby fat). They also experience the loss baby teeth and the emergence of adult teeth. These changes along with the beginnings of puberty comprise the significant milestones for school-age children. Body growth: The general pattern of physical development between the ages of 6 and 12 is one of steady growth. Growth refers specifically to proportional changes in size. Children in middle childhood typically gain 2 to 3 inches in height and 4 to 6 pounds in weight per year. Parents and health care providers typically pay the closest attention to an individual childs growth patterns. (Zember, 2010) The middle childhood is characterized by growth spurts followed by periods of slower growth. It is common for girls to experience this growth spurt sooner than boys (the female body tends to mature more quickly than the male body). As a result, the late childhood period is the only time in the human lifespan when the average female is taller than the average male. (Lao, 2013) The lower portion of the body grows faster in this age period and children appear long-legged. Girls tend to have more body fat and boys have more muscle. After age 8 girls begin accumulating fat at a faster rate. Brain and Nervous Development: Brain and nervous system developments continue during middle childhood. More complex behavioral and cognitive abilities become possible as the central nervous system matures. Early in middle childhood, a growth spurt occurs in the brain so that by age 8 or 9, the organ is nearly adultsize. Brain development during middle childhood is characterized by growth of specific structures, especially the frontal lobes. These lobes, located in the front of the brain just under the skull, are responsible for planning, reasoning, social judgment, and ethical decision making, among other functions. Damage to this part of brain results in erratic emotional outbursts, inability to plan, and poor judgment. The most anterior (front) portion of the frontal lobes is the prefrontal cortex, which appears to be responsible for personality. As the size of the frontal lobes increases, children are able to engage in increasingly difficult cognitive tasks, such as performing a series of tasks in a reasonable order. Lateralization of the two hemispheres of the brain, also continues during middle childhood, as does maturation of

the corpus callosum (the bands of neural fibers connecting the two cerebral hemispheres), and other areas of the nervous system. Interestingly, children achieve concrete operations around age 7 when the brain and nervous systems have developed a certain amount of neural connections. When these neural connections have developed, a child's ability to perceive and think about the world advances from an egocentric magical viewpoint to a more concrete and systematic way of thinking. (Harcourt, 2013) MOTOR SKILLS: Gross Motor Development: Gross motor skills require the use of large muscle groups in the arms and legs, as well as strength and stamina. During middle childhood, improved balance, strength, agility and flexibility support refinements in running, jumping, hoping and ball skills. Children sprint across playgrounds, play hopscotch in intricate patterns, kick and dribble soccer balls and swing bats at pitched balls. (Berk, 2012) Fine Motor Development: Fine motor skills are the collective skills and activities that involve using the hands and fingers. That is, fine motor skills are those skills that require the small muscles of the hand to work together to perform precise and refined movements. Children enjoy using their hands in detailed ways. From early in preschool, children learn and practice fine motor skills. Preschool children cut, paste, mold, shape, draw, paint, create, and write. These children also learn such skills as tying shoelaces, untying knots, and flossing their teeth. Some fortunate children are able to take music lessons for piano, violin, flute, or other instruments. Learning to play an instrument helps children to further develop their fine motor skills. In short, along with the physical growth of children comes the development of fine motor skills, including the sense of competence and confidence to use these skills.

REFERENCES: Berk, L. E. (2012). Child Development. Pearson. Retrieved november 3, 2013 Harcourt, H. M. (2013). Physical Development: age 7-11. Retrieved november 3, 2013, from cliff notes: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/sciences/psychology/developmentpsychology/physical-cognitive-development-age-711/physical-development-age-711 Lao, J. (2013). Childhood Physical Growth. Retrieved november 3, 2013, from Parenting Literacy: http://parentingliteracy.com/parenting-a-z/34-physical/49-judyinnyc Zember, M. J. (2010, july 20). Changes in Body Size in Middle Childhood. Retrieved november 3, 2013, from education.com: http://www.education.com/reference/article/changes-bodysize-middle-childhood/