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Child Development Tracker

Home » 8 to 9 »

Approaches to Learning

Supporting Activities


This detective game will challenge your child's observation and critical thinking skills. Be an Effective Detective


Use persistence and creative problem solving to build a contraption that can do the job. Machine Madness

Postcards from Buster

Answer geography questions to travel across America with Buster. Coast to Coast


Decode the clues to figure out the password to Ruff's safe. Dog Ears

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day is a great way for them to learn new skills. Try these books for third graders.

Research shows that if children start school with a strong set of attitudes and skills that help them "learn how to learn," they will be better able to take advantage of educational opportunities. While some learning skills come naturally to children, others can be developed through a supportive environment.

Tips for building learning skills:

  • Let them choose.
    Give kids a chance to make simple choices, such as what to wear or what to eat for a snack.
  • Help them finish what they start.
    Children experience great satisfaction when they try and finish new things. Give them a bit of support when they need it, but be careful not to take over completely.
  • Nurture creativity.
    Encourage children to ask questions, try different ways of using materials, or offer them a wide range of new experiences.
  • Don't rush activities.
    Whether at home or in preschool, children need extended periods of time to really get involved in activities and to experience the "engagement" that is such an important foundation for learning.
  • Provide encouragement.
    All children start life eager to learn, but if adults are critical, that eagerness may disappear by the elementary grades. Look for achievements to praise and acknowledge your child's progress whenever possible.

Eight-year-olds enjoy having the opportunity to solve problems independently. They may seek out peers for assistance. They are able to concentrate on tasks for longer periods of time and begin to use their own resources prior to seeking adult help. Eight-year-olds demonstrate more highly-developed thinking skills as well as the ability to solve problems with creative strategies.

Initiative, Engagement, and Persistence

  • Weighs options and makes decisions more efficiently (e.g., thinks, "Well I invited Peter last time, so I will ask Eddie today.").

  • Sits still and pays attention during activities, even those that may not be particularly stimulating (e.g., sits calmly and listens to 30-minute assembly on school safety).

  • Can complete lengthy projects with few interruptions. Tolerates frustration and tackles problems independently (e.g., thinks, "The glitter doesn't look right. I am going to go look for some foil in the mixed media box.").

  • Requires less direction from adults and displays higher levels of self-reliance. Is comfortable solving problems with peers (e.g., says to classmate, "Let's ask if we can use a calculator and try to figure this one out together.").

Curiosity and Eagerness to Learn

  • Participates in a variety of independent and peer activities. Selects favorite activities and prefers to stick with those (e.g., says, "I don't want to take art at camp. I am better at soccer.").

  • Asks increasingly complex questions that show she has given the matter some thought (e.g., says, "Desiree moved to Chicago, but I was just thinking that maybe she will still come back here to visit her grandmother. Do you think so?").

  • Still enjoys learning new activities, but is occasionally anxious about trying an activity perceived as difficult (e.g., says, "It might be fun, but I don't want to mess up in front of everybody.").

Reasoning and Problem-solving

  • Understands that unforeseen factors may interfere with plans (e.g. says, "He got in trouble so his mom won't let him come with us. Can we go next Saturday?").

  • Begins to use own resources before seeking adult guidance (e.g., says, "The spinner broke off our game. I tried to fix it with a paper clip, but it didn't work.").

  • Mentally manipulates information on a regular basis (e.g., says, "I know this one. I just add the "12" in my head.").

Invention and Imagination

  • Themes of pretend play associated with real life situations (e.g., says, "Let's play school, I am going to give you a lot of homework!"

  • Develops increasingly creative problem-solving strategies (e.g., says, "But if Sara's mom says no, we can just tell her that there will be an adult there the whole time and we will be very careful").

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