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Who Is Your Fourth Grader?

This can be a year filled with growth and excitement for you and your fourth grader. Nine- and ten-year-olds are emerging into a new level of independence. They are often self-motivated and once started on a project like to continue in their own way. Fourth graders enjoy being given responsibility, but still require guidance and direction to keep on track. Although this is a time of emerging independence, fourth graders will also experience times of self-doubt and timidity, requiring an encouraging and nurturing response from the adults in their lives.

Physical Characteristics
  • Becoming quite skillful in motor performance; boys especially like to demonstrate their strength
  • Fine motor skills vary greatly with the individual
  • Sitting posture may be quite awkward
  • Often plays to the point of exhaustion
Cognitive/Learning Skills
  • Enjoys learning new information and facts, but may not reflect deeply on them
  • Learns best by starting with concrete experiences
  • Learns most successfully through active projects
  • Generally able to read to learn, having passed the learning-to-read stage
Relationships
  • Beginning to detach from family, particularly mother
  • Increased importance of peer relationships
  • Often joins groups or clubs with special friends
  • Develops strong likes and dislikes regarding other people
  • Loves to compete and show off skills
Religious Growth
  • Heightened sense of right and wrong based on fairness
  • Beginning to be able to understand and apply the message in a story
  • Enjoys retelling and acting out stories from the Bible
  • Strives to incorporate good works into daily living
  • Deepened understanding of the sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Enjoys taking part in ritual actions and liturgical celebrations

Growing as Catholic Christians

Fourth graders are moving toward a new sense of independence and self-responsibility. However, frustration is common for them if their efforts do not meet their high expectations. Being a member of a group or community is important to fourth graders. They enjoy volunteering and feel a sense of accomplishment after a deed is completed. Their increased knowledge of communal prayers makes it possible for them to more fully participate in liturgical celebrations. The parent who makes the most of these new and developing characteristics can be a true catalyst for growth for these young Christians.

We asked a group of fourth graders what they would like a parent to know about them. Here's what they said:

I Wish...

  • you would give me responsibilities at home.
  • you would let us discuss stories and their meaning.
  • you would understand that my friends are very important to me.
  • you would let us make and do lots of interesting things.
  • you would understand that we like to work together with friends.
  • you would organize games and puzzles for us to use as we learn.
  • you would let us have roles in liturgical celebrations.
  • you would let us form a "religion club" that can do something to help others.
  • you would give us some meaningful and important tasks to do so we feel part of our parish community.

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