Feature

Don’t delay your kid’s schooling

You want to give your 4-year-old child an advantage? Take him to school, instead of coddling him at home, said Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt at The New York Times.

Sam Wang and Sandra AamodtThe New York Times

Millions of parents are holding back their children’s entry into kindergarten, in the belief that starting school at an older age will “give them a leg up on peers,” said Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt. In fact, one in 11 children is now intentionally held back a year, and there’s a “national trend afoot” to push back the cutoff birthday for everyone. That would be a mistake.

Four-year-old kids who are born later in the year may seem less mature than their 5-year-old peers, but large-scale studies have shown that immersing young kids in school early on “makes children smarter.” In fact, their reading and math skills, and overall IQs, make huge jumps, especially when compared with those of kids who are held back a year. When kids are 4 and 5, their brains are growing at an enormous rate, and are best stimulated by “a demanding environment” where they must operate at “close to the limits of their ability.” Their emotional development is accelerated, too. You want to give your 4-year-old child an advantage? Take him to school, instead of coddling him at home.

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