If you have been following my series of posts about the characteristics of different ages, you may have noticed many similarities in the various preschool ages, and yet, each has unique differences that must be taken into account when teaching them. In today’s post I am going to talk about teaching five year-olds.
• Fives don’t understand that time is a continuous flow.
While five year olds understand that events happen in succession, they still don’t understand the duration of time. They do understand that incidents happened before they were born, but when you say, “A long time ago, there was a man named Abraham,” five year olds know only that this happened before they were alive. And although they know that events happen one after the other, they still don’t yet mentally sequence the Bible stories told from week to week. Therefore, as with the younger ages, it is still best, in my opinion, to teach Bible stories according to themes, rather than in Biblical order.
• Fives want to learn.
Five year olds are explorers in God’s world, excited about learning and discovering. They are realizing that there is a purpose for their curiosity and questions. As they find out more about God and His world, they come to see that there is a purpose for all that God created. Ultimately, these children should come to understand that God has a purpose for them. Fives are perfectly suited for themes that focus on discovering God’s purpose for all He created, from the sun, sea, and land to friends and family to children themselves.
• Fives usually try to cooperate, but are still drawn toward getting their way.
Some people call this a “golden age” of childhood, because fives are usually fairly calm, friendly, and eager to please. However, fives are also still very self-focused. They can be very adamant about getting their own way.
• Fives learn by action and repetition.
Fives are less outwardly enthusiastic than fours, but fives still like to be active. They still learn by hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and doing. As with younger preschoolers, if fives hear words, rhymes, and songs repeated over and over again, they will repeat these words, rhymes, and songs themselves.
• Fives are sensitive to music: melody and rhythm.
A preschooler’s short attention span can often be held and strengthened by songs when the child seems oblivious to spoken words. The simple melodies and rhythms repeated in childhood stay in the heart and mind for a lifetime.
• Fives still need supervision and (sometimes) help.
Fives enjoy doing as much as possible for themselves. However, they still need help and/or supervision as they learn. A teacher-child ratio of one teacher for every seven to ten five-year-olds is very important for quality care-giving. When recruiting helpers and teachers, remember that grandparents and teenagers are often overlooked, but can be valuable members of a teaching team.
PS- See my curriculum for teaching five year-olds :