The Seeing Seven-Year-Old

Photograph by Jeff Woodward.Sevens notice everything . . . in detail. Their drawing, writing, and play construction is characteristically small, reduced to the microcosm, miniaturized to an intricate and controllable world they’re trying to make perfect.

Dioramas fit in shoeboxes, providing room enough for furniture, rugs, animals, vases with tiny flowers, people smaller than clothespins, cut out of cardboard and adorned with colorful costumes.

Printing is also small, anchored to the baseline of the paper. Illustrations are elaborate and intricate. Sevens are consolidating all that they know in a compact world of both precision and inward imagination. They appreciate the beauty in the natural world and love using hand lenses and magnifying boxes to get a closer look. It’s wonderfully illuminating to ask seven-year-olds about their drawings and other creative work in art, classroom projects, and pretend play inventions. They’ll inevitably tell you about details you’ve missed.

Sevens love to have order around them, generally keeping their desks just so, enjoying classroom clean-up, preparing snack, setting a table, organizing the blocks. A predictable daily routine is helpful to sevens in every respect. They appreciate knowing what’s coming next, having time to get ready for it, and having time to fully complete the task before them. They can become completely absorbed in their work, often needing a reminder or two before the next transition.

Although sevens like working alone and are introspective about their developing skills, they also do well with partner work. They’ll demonstrate a strong ability to listen to and learn from what their partner has to say. Sevens also enjoy the company of one “best friend,” and although the best friend might change frequently, they focus intensely on the relationship as long as it engages them.

There is so much that sevens want to accomplish, but in small steps, throughout an orderly day. They are positive perfectionists who believe that to do anything in a personally satisfying way means to be able to reach a conclusion, to finish what they have begun. They adore teachers who structure their world to honor this essential nature of being seven.


In this series based on Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4–14, Chip Wood focuses on the positive developmental attributes generally present in children at different ages.

 

Tags: Child Development, First Grade, Yardsticks Series

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