When should kids start kindergarten? Redshirting kindergarten — holding kids back to start school later — is increasingly popular.
The trend in the UK primary school curriculum over recent decades has been towards an earlier start to formal instruction, and an erosion of learning through play.
Among the earliest in Europe Children in England are admitted into reception classes in primary schools at age four; in many cases, if their birthdays are in the summer months, when they have only just turned four.
This is in stark contrast to the vast majority of other European countries, many of which currently enjoy higher levels of educational achievement. In Europe, the most common school starting age is six, and even seven in some cases such as Finland. From the moment children in England enter the reception class, the pressure is on for them to learn to read, write and do formal written maths.
Now the government is introducing tests for four-year-olds soon after starting school. One book by Sergio and Vivien Pellis reviewed many other studies to show that playful activity leads to synaptic growth, particularly in the frontal cortex — the part of the brain responsible for all the uniquely human, higher mental functions.
A range of experimental psychology studies, including my own workhave consistently demonstrated the superior learning and motivation arising from playful as opposed to instructional approaches to learning in children. There are two crucial processes which underpin this relationship.
One study by US academics James Christie and Kathleen Roskos, reviewed evidence that a playful approach to language learning offers the most powerful support for the early development of phonological and literacy skills.
This helps them develop awareness of their own mental processes — skills that have been clearly demonstrated to be the key predictors of educational achievement and a range of other positive life outcomes.
Longer-term impacts Within educational research, a number of longitudinal studies have provided evidence of long-term outcomes of play-based learning.
A US study by Rebecca Marconfor example, demonstrated that by the end of their sixth year in school, children whose pre-school model had been academically-directed achieved significantly lower marks in comparison to children who had attended child-initiated, play-based pre-school programmes.
A number of other studies have specifically addressed the issue of the length of pre-school play-based experience and the age at which children begin to be formally taught the skills of literacy and numeracy.
They found a particular advantage for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Studies in New Zealand comparing children who began formal literacy instruction at age five or age seven have shown that by the age of 11 there was no difference in reading ability level between the two groups.
But the children who started at five developed less positive attitudes to reading, and showed poorer text comprehension than those children who had started later.
This evidence, directly addressing the consequences of the introduction of early formal schooling, combined with the evidence on the positive impact of extended playful experiences, raises important questions about the current direction of travel of early childhood education policy in England.
There is an equally substantial body of evidence concerning the worrying increase in stress and mental health problems among children in England and other countries where early childhood education is being increasingly formalised.
It suggests there are strong links between these problems and a loss of playful experiences and increased achievement pressures. Hard Evidence is a series of articles in which academics use research evidence to tackle the trickiest questions.Are elementary school start times too early for young children?
August 26, by Gail Hairston, University of Kentucky It's rarely easy to get a child out of bed, dressed, fed and off to school.
The researchers point out that kids’ sexuality and gender identity typically begin emerging during “very young adolescence,” defined as the period between the ages of 10 and Sex Ed Classes Should Start As Early As Age 10, Researchers Recommend national standards for comprehensive sex ed classes in public schools.
tailor sex education to younger kids has. Those who support that children should start younger say that starting before means finishing school at a younger age and so to have more opportunities to work. Furthermore, they say that the younger the child is, the more easily he can learn, because his brain is .
By contrast, a considerable body of evidence clearly indicates the crucial importance of play in young children’s development, the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling, and the damaging consequences of starting the formal learning of .
The age at which children start school has always been a controversial topic. Only a few months ago a group of education specialists wrote to Michael Gove, arguing that children should begin.