Fifth Grader


This year with your fifth grader can be a pleasant and fulfilling one. Tens and elevens enjoy life, learning, and being with their friends. Life still holds surprises, but its routines and rhythms are increasingly familiar. Tens and elevens are self-confident, as if adding a second digit to their age had brought wisdom. Their conversation with adults and peers is intelligent, logical, and enjoyable. They have a high level of energy and often appear to be in perpetual motion. Their energy seems to dissipate, however, when chores or undesirable activities are imposed on them!



  • Beginning of bodily changes, especially among girls
  • Abundance of energy
  • Difficulty in controlling emotions
  • Wide variations in rate of growth



  • Still mostly concrete in their thinking
  • Industrious workers
  • Expanded language skills
  • Longer attention span
  • Learning from role models



  • Continuing closeness to family
  • Enjoyment of cooperative learning activities with friends
  • Dependence on peers as well as adults for answers to tough questions



  • Growing ability to distinguish right and wrong
  • Heightened sense of justice
  • Enjoyment of service activities
  • Awareness of the Church as a committed community of believers
  • Greater appreciation of the sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Interest in participating in the eucharistic liturgy
  • Enjoyment of group prayer experiences
  • Attraction to the Bible stories and the lives of the saints
  • Heightened interest in the human life of Jesus



One of the principal concerns of fifth graders is the need to belong. At this age being accepted as a member of the Catholic community is a formative experience. Tens and elevens are trying to understand what being a Catholic is like. They need to be challenged to think independently and creatively about who they are and what gifts and talents they and their families can contribute as actively engaged Catholic Christians.

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

I Wish...
  • you would laugh more.
  • you would explain things twice--just to be sure I understand.
  • you would spend some time asking me about me.
  • you would say something nice about me in front of the other kids.
  • you would understand that sometimes I just can't pay attention.