Stanford Researchers Say Delaying School Can Reduce Inattention And Hyperactivity In Kids


Researchers at Stanford University found that delaying kindergarten for one year has positive impacts on children. It has led to reduced inattention and hyperactivity.

The study was conducted on Danish kids by Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor Thomas Dee and Hans Henrik Sievertsen of the Danish National Centre for Social Research. In Stanford's official website, the one-year delay was found to have improved a child's self-regulation abilities even as they grew into later childhood.

This led to significantly lower levels of inattention and hyperactivity. The result was found to persist even at the age of 11 years old and may possibly continue on until college.

Dee said that delaying kindergarten for one year lowered inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for the subjects at 11 years old. Moreover, it removed the probability that an average child at that age would have a higher than normal rating for inattention and hyperactivity.

Findings for the study were published at The National Bureau of Economic Research. It is entitled "The Gift of Time? School Starting Age and Mental Health."

There has been debate on what the pros and cons are of having children start school late. There is no conclusive evidence that points out whether delayed kindergarten entry can improve test scores or lead to higher incomes later in life.

Dee and Sievertsen's research, on the other hand, focused on the mental health aspects. These are believed to be predictors of educational outcomes.

The theory was that students who are able to stay focused and pay attention longer do better in school. The study showed that students who had lower inattention-hyperactivity ratings had higher school assessment scores.

Speaking to Quartz, Dee said that the impact was strong and prevalent. They were also surprised at how persistent the effect was.

Furthermore, the effect actually increased instead of diminishing over time as expected. Kids from European countries Finland and Germany already start school late but they do not seem to have lesser outcomes later in life.

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