Friday, August 31, 2007

School Stress

Research out of the UK, shows that children experience stress up to 6 months before starting school.

Stressed four-year-olds 'fret for months about starting school'

Young children fret about starting primary school for up to six months before their first day, a study warns today.

Researchers say exposure to such prolonged stress could saddle children with long-term health problems....

However, the readings from three to six months before the start of school also showed alarmingly heightened cortisol levels of 4.48ng/ml, more than three times the normal amount.

Bath University's Dr Julie Turner-Cobb, who led the study, said: "This suggests that stress levels in anticipation of starting school begin to rise much earlier than we expected."

I was surprised to read that shy children are less stressed than outgoing children.

Perhaps unusually, the study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, indicated that shy children were likely to be less stressed by starting school.

Outgoing children displayed higher cortisol levels at the start of term, and were more likely to still have high levels after six months.

I loved the logic of this comment. Let's just stress out the three year olds. Yeah! that will make things better. If the child is left someplace without a parent, even if it is to play, it will cause stress. And of course, let the government (tax payers) pick up the tab.

One reason to start school at 3, like many European countries. Children spend the first year learning to play and socialise with others, and only attend the hours they feel happy to do so (most seem to love it) - it's not really 'school' at all. It also means they catch all the colds in the year before they need to start academic work, so don't miss anything too important.

Having the legal entitlement to a school place from the year in which a child turns 3 does, of course, costs the Government more money.

- Roz, Chamonix, France


Anonymous said...

I am astonished to read this comment, which I posted below an article in the Evening Standard, taken out of context and reproduced without permission on your site. I am a state-at-home mother who does not use the nursery or childminders because I think my younger son is not yet ready for it, however by the time my older son was 3 he was not 'stressed out' as you put it when he went to school for a couple of mornings a week. Children need to socialise and, along with the other children, he loved it. Having lived in Africa, where most people only access education thanks to sponsorship by Coca-cola, I'd say that having the right to access education if you wish to is very important. If I extract your own arguments and take them to the same silly extremes you have with mine, presumably you will not let your children out of your sight, let alone play at friend's house, until they are 18 . . .?!

Henry Cate said...

Roz, I'm sorry you were bothered by our use of your comment.

Normally the phrase "taken out of context" implies that there was an effort to distort the meaning of the original message. We copied the full text of your from the public web site in UK, with plenty of context for most readers to understand your basic points.