Mastery of Early Math and Reading Skills by Kindergarten Linked to Better School Performance Later
Everyone knows letters and numbers are a basic part of any good preschool curriculum. But a new study shows just how important these early skills are. In fact, when kids enter kindergarten with a good grasp of fundamental math and reading concepts, they do far better in school in the long run.
Looking at existing data from six separate large studies of child development, the researchers found that mastering early reading and math skills by the start of kindergarten was associated with better performance in elementary and middle school. Although reading and attention skills were somewhat linked to later performance, entering kindergarten with solid fundamental math skills was the greatest predictor of a child's later school success.
Putting It in Perspective
All kids learn and develop at different rates. What comes naturally to one might take a little longer for another. As one child excels in math, another may conquer reading. And although it's essential to help preschoolers develop their early learning skills, it's also important not to push too hard or to hold them to a standard they're just not ready to achieve.
Behavior at this age can also vary from child to child — some may be completely cooperative, attentive, and respectful, whereas others may have a harder time staying put in circle time, participating in projects, or getting along with their classmates. Preschoolers should certainly be taught early behavioral and social skills — like sharing, paying attention, sitting still, taking turns, and playing nicely. But not all children will master those skills at the same rate — and that's OK.
Of course, some kids do have early behavioral problems that warrant a closer look. It's a good idea to talk to a doctor if children are, for example, angry, aggressive, defiant, disruptive, impulsive, hyperactive, sad, or withdrawn more often or more severely than their peers. All kids exhibit some behavioral, social, and emotional issues on occasion. But if a problem persists, early intervention is key.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2009 The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.
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