Delayed school entry good for mental health: Study

Delayed school entry good for mental health: Study
When parents have a hunch that they should wait a little longer before sending kids to school, there might be a good reason.
PHOTO: Pixabay

A new study finds that waiting a little longer before starting kindergarten is good for children.

The study, co-authored by Thomas Dee, a professor with the Stanford Graduate School of Education, points to mental health benefits from delayed enrolment.

"We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 per cent for an average child at age 11," said Dee, who co-authored the study with Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Centre for Social Research.

He went on to say that delaying kindergarten virtually eliminated the risk of an average child at that age ( 11 ) having an 'abnormal' or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioural measure.

The study came up with new evidence of mental health aspects that can predict educational outcomes.

Reduced inattention and hyperactivity means a person can better control impulses and modulate behaviour in attaining goals. Children and teenagers who can stay focused and pay attention longer may do better at school.

The study, in fact, found that 7-year-old students of the same schools who had higher assessment scores are those with lower inattention-hyperactivity ratings.

The study also relates to other research that shows how extending the period of early childhood play can benefit mental health development.

Quartz points out that certain countries, such as Finland and Germany, do not seem to be losing out for delaying school age. While letting their young ones enjoy more play during childhood, Finland was said to score well in international tests of 15-year-olds.

Wealthier American parents and parents of boys are said to be more likely to hold their children back, according to the Stanford study. The theory behind it is that older kids are more able, making them more confident.

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