The Late Bloomers


| 5 Comments

In every class I've had since elementary school I have always been the oldest kid among my peers by almost two years. This is a result of a tough private school kindergarten teacher who thought I wasn't fully developed enough to start school at the same age as everyone else, who in my opinion may have been a little sexist (she held my brother back too).  So throughout middle school and high school I've always wondered if my success in school with grades and sports was attributed to my one year advantage in age over everyone else or if it in fact had negatively affected me.

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One question that I've always had in this area is if kids should start school later when they're more developed?  To begin with in the United States each state determines kindergarten entrance age but on average most children start school at the age of five but can vary from ages four to six. There are generally two types of children categorized as "run-away intellect" and "naturally intelligent children".  Children with a run-away intellect, the intellect of most children, generally should start school by age 6 or 7 because children with this type of mentality should be slowed down in  learning to much to fast so they don't end up becoming intellectually unbalanced with long term negative side effects in the future. Which makes sense when it comes to children and how every child learns differently and at a different pace.  Although naturally intelligent children, a smaller group of children, are a little different and should start school at an earlier age between ages 4 to 6 because they should have their intellect fed and roused at a younger age to learn more faster and better.

As to my second question if getting held back at a young age affect a student positively or negatively in the long run, I chose to look at a long term study done at the University of California. In this study students now 20 years old who were held back as children on average earned less money and were more likely to be on welfare, unemployed or prison. The study also shows that most kids who are held back only benefit for two to three years and ultimately are affected adversely in the subject areas of math, reading and language, with reading skills affected the greatest. If you think about it psychologically telling a child that they need to repeat an entire year of school because they aren't performing as well as the other kids can affect not only their pride but their drive to do well which can be shown in the future.

Although many schools don't allow parents to make that decision anymore in most cases it depends on the type of learner each child is and how developed they are upon entering school. It is the parents opinion that matters the most and it should be a choice made by the people who created and look after the child they are enrolling in school. The issue of age enrollment in schools is overblown. In most children it's a case by case individual decision on how getting a late start on school would affect each child. As for me personally I think the decision my parents and teachers made to hold me back at such a young age has affected me positively for my future and I've always felt like I've done very well amongst my peers.

Therefore I think starting children later in school would not only be beneficial to students learning process but also their future as they would be more mature. Although some people may not believe in this method I think it would be essential in helping children develop and mature at their own pace. Through this method of starting children later in school the children won't be rushed into learning things they aren't ready for and this will also allow for children to grow more in their educational experience.

Therefore I think starting children later in school would not only be beneficial to students learning process but also in their future as they would be more mature. Although some people may not believe in this method I think it would be essential in helping children develop and mature at their own pace. Through this method of starting children later in school the children won't be rushed into learning things they aren't ready for and will allow for more room to grow.

 

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9266592/Bright-children-should-start-school-at-six-says-academic.html

Photo: http://static.oprah.com/images/200108/omag/200108-omag-left-out-600x411-600x411.jpg

5 Comments

I find this article extremely interesting because I know a lot of families think if they hold their child back, they will be the smartest in their class. They feel this way because their child will be older, so they will be ahead of the game. As you explained in the study you researched, this is only the case for two to three years. I feel a child should be placed in the class that they are born it, messing with the system is going to have a bad effect in the long run. I am young for my age, however I find myself just fine in my classes.
On the contrary: this is an article saying how holding a child back CAN be a success:http://www.parents.com/kids/education/kindergarten/kindergarten-age/

This is so interesting! I looked more into it and discovered there is actually a name for holding a younger child back so that they will be on the older end of their class. Its called "Redshirting" and its becoming more popular in recent years. I know of one family who decided to do this for their son so that he could play college football in the future. I am not sure if I support this idea or not. For some young children, whose minds are not as developed as other peers, it would be beneficial to let them develop more before forcing them into academic subjects such as math. However, if parents simply hold their child back to "get ahead of the game," such as the parents who held their child back so he could be the best at football, I feel this could be detrimental to the child. Unless there is some sign that the child is a little slower than the rest, it is unfair to put them in a situation where the child finds school too easy, or feels out of place with younger classmates. Personally, I think it should be a parent's decision, since they know their child best, and I think the decision should depend on each individual child and situation.

The opposite from you happened to me. With my birthday being early September, the same time when my school district cuts off between grades, my parents were given the choice to push me ahead or hold me back. They chose to push me ahead and I think it was the best decision they could have ever made for me. Yes, it sucked at times when all of my friends got their license way before me, and in a few years I will once again feel that pain when all of my friends will be of legal drinking age, and I will feel like a little baby. But other than those little bumps in the road, I feel that academically, being the youngest in my grade has helped me push myself to my highest potential because I feared falling behind my peers. I constantly felt the need to keep up with them. I can see why being held back would have the opposite results. Maybe being held back causes the person to not feel obligated to try hard in school because they are already in the mind frame that they are ahead of their peers.

(Hayley) I agree with your standpoint as well I mean with every person its different because of the types of learners we are. I think environment has a lot to do with it as well. Children with a strong background of learning and a home life that encourages good grades and attendance in school are likely to strive to achieve more. There are a lot of factors that go into someones learning process as well. (Sam) I find it interesting they have a name for it! I have heard of parents who held back their child for athletic purposes especially in other countries which isn't a bad idea if that's what a parent is focused on. I personally saw myself strive to do better and I was better than most of my peers at sports.

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