Profile of a Normal Six Year Old

Adapted from Gesell, pg. 5-9


  • Thrives on approval
  • Pleases others to please himself, is self centered
  • Extremely possessive with his belongings
  • Finds choice difficult
  • May respond to personal demand at first with “no”. Will respond to indirect approach: counting, magic word. Needs extra chance.
  • Works best as two-some but small groups may form
  • Likes to be read to-likes to hear stories about himself/herself
  • Likes teacher, wants to please him/her, teacher’s word is law
  • Relates to teacher through material and activities rather than just “talk”
  • Likes school and wants to work and learn
  • Likes oral work; likes to recognize words from the blackboard/whiteboard
  • Likes to write to father and mother
  • Will avoid things he cannot do
  • Is oriented to the whole classroom and whole group
  • Doesn’t know when to ask for help
  • Is constantly on the move or manipulating things
  • Wants to be good – does not want to hurt people
  • May respond to isolation but not to criticism (cannot tolerate criticism)
  • May respond to a discussion of his outbursts when in a receptive mood (futile otherwise)


Six Needs:

  • To be first
  • To be loved, to be praised
  • To win
  • To be reminded of instruction several times
  • An understanding listener for complaints
  • Comforting when afraid
  • Task lightened when tensional signs appear: chewing on ties, sash ends, finger nail biting, wiggling, leg swinging, picking nose, sighing
  • To be active
  • To be kept in situation where winning is likely


Six May:

  • Be very awkward in fine tasks
  • Complain of being hot
  • Have toilet accidents if over-excited
  • Use verbal tensional escape – “hell,” “dam,” “ugh,” “stink,”
  • Be bossy and tease, be unreasonable and project his feelings on others
  • Giggle over bathroom words
  • Fear thunder, rain, fire, sirens, witches, loss of mother, blood, the dark
  • Not get on too well in play
  • “Tattle tale”
  • Kick and fight when things are not going his/her way