If your little one is quickly approaching the age to begin his academic endeavors, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions: “Is he truly the proper age? How do I know?”
Well, as it turns out, there’s more to it than you’d imagine.
The ever changing, and expanding curricula for kindergarten seems to be shifting towards a more diverse and challenging system. Long gone are the days of extended nap-times and snack breaks; now, kids are exposed to more reading, writing, and math than ever. As a result, many parents are opting to delay their child’s enrollment in kindergarten.
Psychology Today reports that new research has found that somewhere between 4 and 6 percent of children delay kindergarten. This research, conducted in the U.S., revealed that majority of the students who delay kindergarten tend to be white, male and not economically disadvantaged. Most of the students who delay have birthdays in July, August or September, meaning their birthdays fall close to the kindergarten cut-off date.
Many parents fear that their child will fall behind academically, because they simply aren’t ready to retain all of the information being learned. Others believe their children aren’t emotionally prepared for kindergarten. And, interestingly enough, some parents delay their child because they don’t want their kid to be physically smaller than his classmates.
So what specific age are parents encouraged to enroll their children in kindergarten? Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive answer. There seems to be an abundance of data present on the matter; however, all findings are rather conflicting.
One such study tested the efficiency and outcome of delaying a child’s enrollment in kindergarten. The data from this study seems to suggest that it is the smartest route, and is beneficial for children. A longitudinal study conducted by Stanford University researchers of more than 90,000 families in Demark found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity significantly among children, and those effects lasted through age 11.
In accordance with the Stanford University findings, an additional study of a national representative group of U.S. kindergarteners found students who delayed kindergarten showed better social and emotional skills, but that these benefits disappear by middle school.
Another longitudinal study by Canadian researchers found starting kindergarten one year late substantially reduced the likelihood that students would repeat third grade and significantly increased math and reading scores among tenth graders.While these studies have found success in waiting for kindergarten have yielded positive results, other findings suggests otherwise…
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What does scientific research have to say about the outcome of sending your kid to kindergarten earlier than normal? Evidently, a lot!
A nationwide study of more than 15,000 young adults published in 2006 found that kids who delayed kindergarten performed worse on 10th-grade tests, were twice as likely to drop out of high school, and were less likely to graduate from college.
A 2008 working paper by a Harvard economist and a public policy expert from the University of Michigan found that students who delayed kindergarten were more likely to drop out of school and tended to earn less and score lower on IQ tests as adults.
Furthermore, an older longitudinal study of more than 9,000 students found that delaying kindergarten results in behavioral problems.
The final verdict: the age you should send your child to kindergarten is completely dependent on your child’s individual physical, emotional, and cognitive development. There’s ample data to support that either side of the coin can provide benefits, however, it all depends on your child’s personality and readiness.
Take the time to get a proper understanding of where your child lies on the spectrum cognitively, emotionally, and physically before considering enrollment. If you feel he is ready, then there is enough data to support your decision. If you feel he’s not ready, there also exists data that will back your decision.
This article was based on a post from Psychology Today
READ: What is “unschooling”, and could it work for your kids?
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