In the toddler years, self-knowledge is not much more complex than "I'm hungry," or "I'm tired." An understanding of self develops slowly, bit by bit. In preschool and kindergarten, children begin to develop a sense of who they are and see that other children are different from them.
When they enter the more structured environment of first grade, this burgeoning self-concept starts to explode. Not only are lessons geared toward a broader understanding of the world and the people in it, but simple things like raising hands to speak, not interrupting classmates, and responding to topics from an individual point of view all encourage an understanding of themselves as individuals. Not everyone thinks or acts like they do. Not everyone likes what they like.
Throughout the course of the year, first graders make tremendous progress in respecting the opinions and feelings of others and valuing themselves as unique and capable people. Yours will start to see that he or she has something special to contribute, in class, on the playground and at home.
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