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Young Children

"Early Childhood Curiosity and Kindergarten Reading and Math Academic Achievement"

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Ever since the landmark "marshmallow test" highlighted the importance of early self-control in later achievement, educators have worked to find ways to build self-regulation among young children. But a new study in the journal Pediatric Research suggests boosting children's natural curiosity may be equally crucial to their long-term learning.

University of Michigan researchers tracked 6,200 children participating in the federal Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which is nationally representative.

In addition to testing children's early-math and -literacy skills, the study gauged traits, such as invention, imagination, attention to new tasks, and eagerness to learn new skills. The researchers found that even after controlling for differences in children's backgrounds and preschool attendance, their curiosity—in particular their "eagerness to learn new things"—was as good a predictor of their later kindergarten math and reading achievement as were early measures of self-control—especially for pupils in poverty.

Vol. 37, Issue 30, Page 4

Published in Print: May 9, 2018, as Young Children
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