Class Three is a time of great change, both internally and externally. Children, in a new and more complete way, recognize themselves as separate and distinct from their parents and families, and from the world. They comprehend for the first time that they have individual, internal thoughts and opinions that others do not, and will not share, and that their experiences in life will be unique. This often causes a crisis of identity for a time, and a withdrawal from friends and family, as well as insecurities and fears arising that were not there before.
Children in Class Three may become more sensitive than before and second guess themselves and their abilities. Physically they are in a great state of flux as their bodies are hitting another growth spurt. Their appetites and energy will fluctuate greatly day to day, but their coordination will accelerate greatly, and they may become outwardly restless, seeking for new physical challenges to meet their growing muscles and physical abilities.
Cognitively this is an age where they really begin to question the world and beliefs they held as a child, though they may not yet really want to hear the answers. Many children ask about the validity of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and other mythical stories. They want to know if every story is “really true”. They have increased worries, deeper feelings, and think about mysteries and unknowns. This is often the age where death takes on real meaning to children and they may have many questions about it. They may take more notice of its presence in their lives, whether it is experiencing the death of a loved one, pet, or hearing about tragedies in the news.
Children at this age need to know they have the support and love of adults around them and that we will help them. They also begin to care more deeply about peers and want the assurance that adults will help their friends as well as themselves. They need loving and fair authority figures, as they will try to push boundaries and insist that they can’t or won’t do things, where previously they were happy to comply.