Social and Emotional Development - Part 2

Social and Emotional Developmental Expectations in

Late Elementary School Aged Children social and emotional development part 2  


This is the second part of a two part post regarding social and emotional developmental expectations in elementary school.  The first post focused on early elementary school (K - 2) and this post focuses on late elementary school (3 - 5).

Late Elementary School (3-5)


  • Describe self by characteristics and tendencies

  • Start to describe and explain thoughts & feelings more in depth

  • More realistic in self-assessments

  • Start to be aware of the coming changes in puberty


  • Become more balanced in coping with frustration or failure

  • Describe steps of setting and working toward a goal

  • Can demonstrate conflict resolution skills with peers, including talking through issues

Social Awareness

  • Identify more complex verbal, physical & situational cues indicating how others feel

  • Demonstrate knowledge of social customs for when and to whom certain emotions are appropriate to express

  • Acknowledge other people’s perspectives

  • May modify behavior as a result of realizing the impact their behavior has on others

  • Interested in group activities.

  • May collect things or start a hobby

Relationship Skills

  • Peer relationships have gained importance, however connections to family and home are still strong

  • Communicate needs, wants and emotions in healthy ways

  • Can participate in games with more abstract rules and can make up elaborate fantasy games and situations

  • Have a more fleshed out understanding of friendship - able to look at qualities in a friend, can start to evaluate friendships

Responsible Decision Making

  • Identify a more complex range of decisions they make throughout their lives

  • Can discuss pros and cons of a choice

  • Can have conversations about more complex choices and see nuances



Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). Enhancing students’ social and emotional development promotes success in school: Results of a meta-analysis. Child Development, 82, 405-432.,

National Education Goals Panel. (1995). The national education goals report: Building a nation of learners. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

National Research Council. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

National Research Council. (2012). Education for life and work: Developing transferable knowledge and skills in the 21st century. Committee on Defining Deeper Learning and 21st Century Skills, J. W. Pellegrino & M. L. Hilton (Eds). Board on Testing and Assessment and Board on Science Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (Eds.). (2004).  Building academic success on social and emotional learning: What does the research say?  New York, NY:  Teachers College Press.

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