A study suggests that kindergarten children with the best vocabularies do better in school
- The study found that children with large vocabularies were more engaged in later grades
- Experts tested the abilities of almost 900 children before starting school
- Later during their schooling, they observed when they entered the classroom
- The authors say the findings show that small early changes influence future academic success
Teaching your preschoolers a few extra words can set them up for lifelong academic success, a study suggests.
A study of almost 900 four-year-olds found that children with larger vocabularies engaged more with teachers and other children when they started education later.
The researchers tested the youngsters’ abilities in the fall and then checked them when they started school the following spring.
The researchers say their findings show how even small differences in a child’s early years can have a big impact on their chances of academic success.
They also hope the findings will help teachers identify children with smaller vocabularies when they start school to get more learning support.
The authors also noted that children who learned to control impulsive behavior before starting school also performed better in the classroom
Lead study author Qingqing Yang, an early education expert at Ohio State University in the United States, said the team’s findings demonstrated the impact of preparing young children for success in the classroom.
“This study showed that the level of vocabulary and inhibitory control that children display in the fall of preschool depends on their engagement in the classroom in a variety of ways,” she said.
A US study found that children with larger pre-school vocabularies performed better when they entered the classroom.
‘Children with lower inhibitory control and vocabulary seem to be at risk for displaying various types of uninteresting behaviour.’
She added that the findings, published in the journal Early Education and Development, had implications not only for parents but also for teachers.
Milestones of language development for children aged three to four
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a three-year-old should be able to:
Ask questions like “where’s mom/dad
Can identify the actions described in the picture, for example “run”
When asked, say their first name
Speak well enough that other people can understand you most of the time
For a 4-year-old, the CDC says she should be able to:
Speak in sentences of four or more words
He can say the lyrics of songs, stories or nursery rhymes
They talk about at least one thing that happened during their day, such as “I played a game”
Answer simple questions like ‘What’s the coat for?’
Parents who are concerned that their child is not meeting milestones are encouraged to contact their doctor.
“This suggests that teachers need to be able to recognize who may be more susceptible to negative engagement,” she said.
“Given the large amount of time children spend in the classroom, these findings have implications for optimizing children’s vocabulary and developing inhibitory control.”
Pre-school, called crèche in the UK, is the years of non-formal education before a child starts primary school.
In the study, researchers tested 895 preschoolers who were roughly evenly split in terms of gender from eight different US states.
Children’s vocabulary was tested in autumn (autumn) by evaluators who asked them to name the objects in the picture.
Their ability to focus on the task was assessed using a “pencil test” where the child was told to tap the pencil once while the rater tapped the pencil twice.
Then, in the spring when the children entered elementary school, the researchers observed each child for an hour to see how well they were doing in school.
They rated them on their social and communication skills and ability to stay on task.
Negative behaviors such as conflict with teachers and classmates or failure to follow instructions were rated negatively.
They found that children who performed better on earlier tests of vocabulary and concentration had better interactions with their teachers and peers and were more engaged in classroom tasks.
The study tested children in English or Spanish, depending on which language was predominant
In the US, preschoolers are children between the ages of three and five.
Whereas in the UK, children in nurseries are usually between the ages of three and four before they start school.