Sixth Grader


You and your sixth grader can have an exciting and meaningful year together. The faith of eleven- and twelve-year-olds is expanding as is their ability to think logically, to make connections between events, and to understand the feelings and point of view of others. More and more, life is centering around peers. Socializing, talking on the telephone, and being part of a group are increasingly important at this age.



  • Bodily changes continue, especially for girls
  • Physical growth can vary greatly from child to child
  • Abundance of energy



  • Concrete thinking predominates, but some sixth graders may be capable of the beginnings of abstract reasoning
  • Enjoys challenging tasks
  • Attention span has increased
  • Language skills and capacity for logical thinking expand



  • Dependence on peers for approval is increasing
  • Enjoys working with others in cooperative groups
  • Continues to seek acceptance from the group



  • Growing development of conscience
  • Heightened sense of justice
  • Enjoys projects that involve helping others and social justice
  • Beginning to be able to relate Bible messages to his or her own life experiences
  • Responds to opportunities to participate in liturgical celebrations
  • Is comfortable with a variety of prayer forms



Sixth graders are at a critical time in their development. Many of them have entered a new school setting as "middle schoolers." Roles and relationships of the past may be changing. Body changes and the emergence of adolescence may be raising many questions in the minds of sixth graders. These questions can relate to what it means to be a Catholic and how one determines right from wrong. They will respond well to caring adults who are willing to take the time to listen and respond to them as they search for new levels of independence and greater understanding of their own life experiences.

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


I Wish...
  • you would give me interesting projects to do to help others.
  • you would let us learn about things that are important in our lives today.
  • you would understand that I sometimes get confused about what is happening to me.
  • you would let us laugh and have fun.
  • you would give us opportunities to talk about ourselves and our friendships.
  • you would make me feel important and that my ideas matter.