A study out of Stanford University and the Danish National Centre for Social Research provides evidence that children who delay kindergarten entry by one year demonstrate better self-regulation skills when compared to children who start kindergarten on time. These benefits persisted as the students progressed through elementary school.
The data were obtained from a national Danish mental-health screening tool completed by more than 54,000 parents of 7-year-olds and a follow-up of almost 36,000 parents when these same children were 11 years old.
- Given that increased ability to control behavior and pay attention in class leads to improved academic performance, researchers examined school assessment scores and found that students who delayed kindergarten entry demonstrated higher scores than those who did not.
- The authors found that the one-year delay resulted in a 73% reduction in inattention and hyperactivity by the time the average student was 11 years old.
Children in the U.S. have traditionally started kindergarten at age 5, but changes in educational practices have resulted in 20% of parents delaying their children’s start until age 6. The authors hope that these findings help parents determine the most appropriate kindergarten entry times for their children.
Source (Open Access): Dee, T. S., & Sievertsen, H. H. (2015). The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health (Working Paper No. 21610). Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.3386/w21610