Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Differences in Schooling Abilities

Today's Globe and Mail has an interesting (short) piece on differences in schooling abilities among young Canadian children. Gender, affluence, parental encouragement and exposure to sports all have an impact on a child's schooling abilities.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

In general, girls are more ready to learn at the age of five, says a Statistics Canada report which assessed children's readiness for school and then traced back two years looking for earlier behavioural hints. At five years old, girls have better communication skills, attention and self-control levels, and are more independent in dressing, while boys display more curiosity.

....Children from lower income households didn't understand as many words, couldn't communicate as well, had lower knowledge of numbers, and lower attention and co-operative play rates. But the family's affluence had no impact on work effort, curiosity, self-control and independence of dress and cleanliness.

More important than income was positive interaction with parents. Children who talk to their parents and receive largely positive feedback — being encouraged to do one thing, instead of discouraged to do another — rated higher in communication, curiosity and co-operation.

This last paragraph (which I put in italics) is very important for parents and society to bear in mind. The most important thing we can provide our children with is love and encouragement at home. That, perhaps more than anything else, will help equip our children with the best possible start in life.