Children who are exposed to advanced content in math or reading perform better at elementary school later on, finds a new study. This improvement is regardless of the economic background of the child.
Kindergarten teachers who cling on to teaching basic content alone are hence, unknowingly, restricting the potential of their kids. Amy Claessens, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Chicago University's Harris School of Public Policy Studies, who led the team, based her research on data acquired from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS). The ECLS programme examines child development, school readiness, and early school experiences.
AdvertisementResearchers found that 4 or more days per month of exposure to challenging math and reading was linked to better scholastic performance in elementary school. Children exposed to just the basic content did not get this benefit; their peers performed much better. The interesting fact is that, the positive benefits were seen in children irrespective of the economic status, even kids from low-income households reap excellence.
"Teachers could increase their time on advanced content while reducing time on basic content, without the need to increase overall instructional time, and do so in a developmentally appropriate way for young kids," reports Prof. Claessens. She says that rather than lengthening duration of school stay or reducing the strength of classes, it is easier to challenge kindergarten children with more advanced content so as to boost academic performance.
"At a time when education programs are facing budget constraints, this is a more viable option," she added. The fact remains true regardless of whether kids attended preschool, or began KG with more advanced skills.
The findings were published in the American Educational Research Journal. This study may be one of the first of its kind, since few studies before had ventured to examine the relationship between academic content coverage in kindergarten and student achievement.
In the light of these new findings, it is time to redesign our policies with regards to kindergarten curriculum. We need to evaluate if the changes are applicable to our set up. A developing nation like India is sure to gain benefits since the incorporation of the new idea can only make things easier and cut short our expenses. Let us hope that similar studies are soon conducted in our environment.
References: American Educational Research Journal