chapter  Four
12 Pages

Latency

WithHamish Canham

This chapter starts by giving a general overview of this period of child development, with some ideas from psychoanalytic theory about what is going on for children in the so-called latency period—that is, between about 5 and 12 years of age. Before looking in more detail at what latency means as a developmental phase, it would be helpful to paint a picture of typical latency children. Latency is the period in a child’s life which is sandwiched between two rather tempestuous times: babyhood preceding it and adolescence beckoning. It is because of the calmness characteristic of this period that it is referred to as latency. In middle latency, the child leaves the relative security of the infant school and has to move to junior school. The early latency age also marks the beginning of learning to read and write, but there is still a tendency for 5-, 6-, and 7-year-olds to think in a rather concrete way.