Why Kindergarten Matters | Health News

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter


TUESDAY, Nov. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Being well-prepared to start kindergarten provides lifelong benefits, a new Canadian study shows.

It included 2,000 children born in the province of Quebec in 1997 and 1998. At age 5, their knowledge of numbers and their receptive vocabulary (recognition of written or spoken words) was assessed. Their kindergarten teachers also reported on the children’s classroom engagement, such as how well they did tasks, followed directions and worked with others.

At age 17, the children reported on their school grades, their feelings of connectedness, drug or alcohol abuse, physical activity, height and weight. Their dropout risk was estimated by the researchers.

“Kindergarten math skills contributed to better end-of-high-school achievement and a lower dropout risk, and that was supported by observations from teachers, who also noted a reduced risk of substance abuse later on,” said study author Caroline Fitzpatrick, an assistant professor of psychology at Universite Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia.

The study was published Nov. 2 in the journal Pediatrics.

“Kindergarten classroom engagement also predicted involvement in physical activity and a 65% drop in the risk of a child being overweight by age 17,” said study senior author Linda Pagani, a professor at the University of Montreal’s School of Psychoeducation.

“We’ve known for years that getting off to a good start in kindergarten leads to better achievement over the long-term,” Fitzpatrick said in a University of Montreal news release. “But now, with our study, we can really lock in the idea that early childhood skills help you achieve success and adopt a healthier lifestyle in emerging adulthood. And that’s promising for society as a whole.”

While the study only found an association between kindergarten readiness and later success, the researchers pointed out that many kids are not prepared at age 5. “Those who go in unprepared risk struggling throughout their academic journey. They arrive without the necessary tools in terms of cognitive skills, social skills and motor skills from physical activity,” Pagani noted.

“Promoting kindergarten readiness seems, over the long term, to help reduce the lifestyle risks generated by dropping out of high school. Therefore, policies to promote and preserve children’s early skills, such as providing stimulating child care and diminishing family adversity, may thus represent a valuable policy strategy for governments to invest in,” Pagani concluded.

SOURCE: University of Montreal, news release, Nov. 2, 2020

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Assumption School Reopens On-Site Kindergarten In San Leandro

SAN LEANDRO, CA — Assumption School in San Leandro reopened Monday for in-person learning for its transitional-kindergarten and kindergarten classes in a hybrid format for half-day classes.

Parents wishing to keep their children enrolled in distance-learning still have that option, school officials said.

Assumption is taking a “measured approach” to its return to in-person teaching and will phase in the return of first- through fifth-grades over the next few months, officials said.

Assumption’s reopening for TK and K students follows Alameda County hitting the state’s Orange Tier category, which allows elementary schools to hold in-class instruction providing COVID-19 health plans are in place and submitted to Alameda County’s Office of Education and Public Health Department.

Assumption’s reopening plan covers procedures for physical distancing, routine testing of staff, daily cleaning and disinfecting of learning spaces and increased ventilation, Principal Lana Rocheford said. The reopening is another step in supporting students in this “new normal,” with staggered attendance and the boost in digital-education, along with a maintenance routine of health and safety practices to help prevent coronavirus spread.

“Whether before the pandemic or now, and whether we are distance-learning or in-person, it has always been about how we can create a place where students will feel safe, nurtured, respected and treasured,” Rocheford said.

The parent of one kindergartner said her son is thrilled to return to the classroom.

“It has been a balancing act trying to manage work and both of my sons’ distance learning, all while trying to keep my family safe and healthy during this pandemic,” said Erica Marr. “We are thankful that Israel can return back to the classroom and experience kindergarten in-person this school year. The school has worked hard to get to this point.”

This article originally appeared on the San Leandro Patch

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