On MY Way


About this Resource

On MY Way: A Guide to Support Middle Years Child Development is a comprehensive developmental framework to support children ages 6–12, and is based on up-to-date evidence on middle childhood development.

Through an emerging, growing body of research, we know that the middle years is a critical period of transition and development with lifelong impacts. However, the body of evidence on middle childhood development is relatively small compared to that for the early years (from birth to age six) and youth (ages 12-25). Further, research on development during this period is not as widely and readily available compared to the other stages.

This resource describes what the leading research tells us about how middle years children are changing across Cognitive, Physical, Emotional, Social and Communication domains. It also considers the role that individual self, spirit, context and culture play in influencing these changes.

It describes what parents, caregivers and other caring adults can do to support optimal development during middle childhood, and helps define the most critical opportunities for early interventions that will have an impact on the future. It also supports evidence-based planning and service delivery by community partners, educators, service providers, philanthropic partners, municipal partners, and policy and decision makers — all with a shared goal of supporting optimal middle years child development.

By working to connect more individuals and organizations with research on what middle years children need, we improve our collective ability to effectively support the wellbeing of our children.

Who is this for?

This resource is intended for all those who play a role in or influence the lives of middle years children, including:

  • parents, caregivers and caring adults
  • Elders, Senators* and traditional knowledge keepers**
  • community leaders and community groups
  • educators and learning institutions
  • agencies and organizations that serve children
  • health care providers
  • planners, policy makers and decision makers
  • philanthropic organizations and individuals
How do I use it?

Child development is an interconnected and fluid process. It is experienced through the lens of culture and identity, and influenced by experience and context. As a result, development is best understood and supported with the whole child in mind.

Accordingly, this resource is intended to be read as a whole. It should be viewed with the understanding that each child’s developmental journey is unique and is shaped by their experience and context, or circumstances. Reading only one section or domain within the document will not present the full picture of how middle years children are growing, learning and developing during this period.

The reader also needs to keep in mind that child development is dynamic, and does not move in a straight line. Children move along the developmental continuum at their own pace.

* "Senators" have a special place in Métis culture, the Métis Nation of Ontario and in its governance structure. Highly respected for their knowledge, values, and experience, Senators provide an elder’s presence at community events and meetings, and they help to keep Métis culture alive by sharing Métis traditions and ways of life (Métis Nation of Ontario).

** "Traditional knowledge keepers" include Elders, Senators and other people who pass down knowledge of Indigenous culture and traditions.