Middle Childhood (Ages 6-12)

A child’s developmental path in their middle childhood years (between 6 and 12 years of age) contributes substantially to the adolescent, and adult they will become.

Middle childhood is a stage where children move into expanding roles and environments. Children begin to spend more time away from their family and spend more time in school and other activities. As they experience more of the world around them, children begin to develop their own identity. 

Children in this age group are entering the ‘age of reason’ because they begin to:

  • be more flexible in their thinking,
  • develop self-awareness, and
  • identify and understand others’ feelings or emotions. 

During middle childhood, children work towards four important milestones, including:

(i) adjusting to school;
(ii) achieving new academic skills such as learning to read
(iii) learning to get along with peers; and
(iv) learning the rules of our culture or society.  

To support positive development during middle childhood, Manitoba works with community partners to provide the following programs and supports: 

Roots of Empathy
Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based, bilingual, universal classroom based program for students from kindergarten to Grade 8 which focuses on building capacity of the next generation for caring and compassionate citizenship and parenting. At the heart of the program are a neighbourhood infant and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations offer In-School Mentoring (in partnership with schools) and Community-Based Mentoring programs for children.  Both programs match a volunteer mentor with a child who has common interests. Mentors and mentees spend time together doing fun activities that help build a positive relationship between them.  Mentorship makes a difference in the lives of children and youth by providing a positive role model, building attachments to a trusted person, and promoting healthy lifestyle choices and self-esteem.

For more information, visit:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winnipeg
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Brandon
(offers programs in Brandon and surrounding area)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Portage La Prairie
(offers programming in Portage la Prairie and surrounding area)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morden/Winkler

Community School Investigators (CSI) Summer Learning Enrichment Program (SLEP)
CSI-SLEP is a school-based summer day camp for children in grades one to six.  The program is targeted to specific communities in Winnipeg.  The program aims to prevent summer learning loss and provide enriching opportunities for children in the summer months.  The program is coordinated by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, which partners with many other organizations in the community to make the program successful.

COACH is an intensive, year-long community-based treatment and academic program that provides emotional, behavioural and academic wraparound intervention and support for 30 boys and girls with profound emotional, behavioural and academic issues.  The COACH 1 site is for children/youth ages 5-11, and the COACH Expansion site is for children/youth ages 12-15.  Goals of COACH include reintegrating the child/youth into their community school with appropriate school system supports, stability in the child/youth’s living environment, and a reduction in negative and dangerous emotions and behaviours.  COACH supports the child/youth and their family during the transition phase to the community school and continues to offer support into adulthood.

Community Schools

Manitoba supports several schools in select communities to help them connect with parents and families. Through this support, these schools are able to provide gathering places where adults and children can come together for educational, social, cultural and recreational activities.

Growing Up OK!
Growing Up OK! is a puberty booklet developed primarily for children ages 9-12 (grades 4-7) and is available in both English and French (Grandir en douceur!).  Growing Up OK! provides accurate, non-judgmental information and will support middle years children in understanding and becoming comfortable with their sexual health as they make the important developmental transition between childhood and adolescence.  Growing Up OK! covers topics such as: growing, the male and females bodies, taking care of your body, gender, personal safety (including bullying and online safety), changing feelings, sexual orientation,  changing relationships and a list of resources. The booklet may be used in delivering the Grade 5 and 7 Physical Education/Health Education (PE/HE) sexual health outcomes and can be used by counsellors or health care professionals working with families.  Growing Up OK! may also assist parents in teaching and discussing these topics with their children.  Growing Up OK! supports Government efforts to  promote healthy sexuality and safe, caring, healthy schools. 

Learn more: Growing Up OK! Reader

A companion resource has been developed for parents and caregivers called Helping your children to Grow Up OK! Reader  available in English and French (Aider vos enfants à Grandir en doucer!).  This resource is a guide for parenting children through the physical and emotional changes of puberty. Parenting at this time can become very challenging.  Helping your children to Grow Up OK! supports parents/caregivers in understanding what to talk about with their preteen to promote and encourage healthy behaviours while respecting the importance of each families’ own values and relationships.  The topics in Helping your Children to Grow Up OK! include healthy talk, mental health and wellness, safety, attachment, and a list of resources.  The pamphlet can be distributed to parents/caregivers by schools, health care providers or community service providers working with families.

Healthy Schools
Healthy Schools focuses on the development of health promoting strategies for school communities using the principles of comprehensive school health and includes community-based activities, targeted provincial activities, provincial resource development, and other related activities.

Out of School Programming
Manitoba supports various community-based agencies that offer out-of-school programming.  These programs provide opportunities for learning and for developing social skills, confidence and self-esteem, and also promote healthy behaviours, such as physical activity, healthy eating and safety.  Examples of organizations that receive funding support include Gilbert Park Going Places (a program of NorWest Health Co-op), Rossbrook House, Boys and Girls Club of Thompson, and The Pas Action Centre.

PAX Pilot
PAX is an evidence-based, childhood mental health promotion strategy which teaches students autonomous self-control and self-management through collaborating with others for peace, productivity, health & happiness.PAX is a set of tools and strategies used by teachers and students that creates conditions for active teaching and lifelong learning. Longitudinal studies have shown that students who participate in PAX in Grade One do better in, and are more likely to graduate from school, need fewer special education services, have better mental health (including less suicidal thoughts/attempts), fewer smoking, alcohol and drug addictions, and are less involved in crime, into their adult years.   For more information on PAX in Manitoba click here.

The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Strategy
The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Strategy helps with the prevention, intervention and care and support of individuals with FASD or alcohol related birth defects.

A partnership of:

Manitoba Education • Manitoba Families • Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living • Manitoba Indigenous and Northern Relations • Manitoba Justice • Municipal Relations / Francophone Affairs / Status of Women