What Does My Child's Stage of Development Have to do With His Readiness for School?
When children reach the age that makes them eligible to start school, there is suddenly an expectation that they should all have the same skills and abilities and should all behave in exactly the same ways. While research has shown that every child goes through the same stages of development in the same order, it is important to remember that each child has his or her own unique rate and way of development.4
Furthermore, for each individual child, social development may differ from physical development, intellectual development may differ from emotional, and so forth. Even children of the exact same age differ remarkably from one another in size and shape and in what they know and can do.
In an ideal world, a child’s chronological age would be exactly matched to where that child is on the path of development. Dr. Arnold Gesell, a pioneer in his field, was the first researcher to point out that a child’s developmental age (or stage of development) may be different from his or her actual age in years—the chronological age. Developmental age refers to how a child behaves socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually on a continuum.5
In the United States, Kindergarten is considered the first year of formal schooling, and specific behaviors in all areas of development are expected. These expectations may or may not be consistent with your child’s natural, developmental stage at this time. Your child’s ability to meet these demands in Kindergarten is closely connected to how successful he or she will feel in school.6 This is precisely why 5 understanding whether your child’s developmental level matches the school’s expectations is so important.
What does my child's stage of development have to do with readiness for school? You Are Here
Reprinted with permission of the Gesell Institute. Copyright © 2010, Gesell Institute of Human Development. All Rights Reserved.
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