Intellectual Development

  • Most kids enjoy the social aspects of learning. This works well when teachers encourage learning in small groups.
  • Around ages 11, 12, and 13, shifts occur in kids’ thinking. Keep them engaged in school and learning. Encourage their curiosity. Many are strongly influenced by friends, so if they have friends who only want to socialize and not learn, emphasize the importance of having friends and working hard to learn.
  • Many kids move from “concrete” thinking to “abstract” thinking. Concrete thinkers focus on the here and now, such as a particular house cat. Abstract thinkers focus on issues that are disassociated from a specific instance. Thus, an abstract thinker can talk about domestic and wild cats, how they’re similar and different, and which ones they believe have more skills than others.
  • Because kids this age have strong emotions, they tend to either “love” school or “hate” it. If your child happens to “hate” school, help her identify parts that are more enjoyable—even if it’s recess, gym, and lunch.
  • Most kids at this age think there is too much homework. Emphasize how homework helps kids learn. Do homework with them. Make it fun. Applaud their learning and new knowledge.