The six-year-old is ready for entrance to the primary school for formal education. The beginning of formal schooling not only increases his opportunities for furthering his social development but also gives rise to problems of adjustment that encourage the development of socially desirable behaviour.
This period is often called the gang age and the geographical instinct develops to the full. He no longer wants to depend upon restricted environment of the home and wants to be in the wider social world of pears and hence craves for social approval. In this process of social adjustment there are frequent quarrels and bickering. During this process, envy, jealousy, aggressiveness, etc. are clearly expressed in the child’s behaviour. Sex differences are also there. Boys grow more aggressive than girls and girls grow more jealous than boys in matters of friendship.
Social adjustments are also marked by the socio- economic status of the children. This is reflected in likes and dislikes and prejudices in matters of social relationship. The important feature of the ‘gang’ age is that children’s groups tend to expand and to become highly organised. Among the members of the ‘group’ or ‘gang’ secret pass words, rules for membership, and special places for meeting, elected officers, and specific purposes of activities of time; loyalty to fellow members becomes more and more intense. Group interest is preferred to self interest.
The social characteristics of the elementary school child must be given due consideration in any school programme that is planned for them. From the age of six to twelve, the young person should be helped to participate in group projects that teach him to work with others. Moreover, through actual as well as vicarious experiences, the normal curiosity of the children about people and things should be satisfied.
Proficiency in the fundamental tools of learning should be sought, but such proficiency should be achieved in class-room situations which stimulate the child not only to gain skills and knowledge, but also to develop attitudes of cooperation both with adults and with young persons of his own age. Hence, the child’s interest in group activity should be encouraged and directed towards participation in worthwhile class-room projects.