A new study on the mental health effects of kindergarten enrollment ages found strong evidence that a one-year delay dramatically improves a child’s self-regulation abilities even into later childhood.
According to the study co-authored by Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor Thomas Dee, children who started kindergarten a year later showed significantly lower levels of inattention and hyperactivity, which are jointly considered a key indicator of self regulation. The beneficial result was found to persist even at age 11.
“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11,” Dee said, “and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”
The study, aptly titled, “The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health,” was published Oct. 5, by the National Bureau of Economic Research. A version of the article is also available here as a working paper from the Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis at the GSE.
I have not yet read the study, but it seems to me this paper, along with some other recent results, does not exactly help the case for preschool…
For the pointer I thank Peter Metrinko.