Early Childhood

Can Extreme Shyness Impact a Preschooler’s Readiness for Kindergarten?

By Julie Rasicot — September 04, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Step into any classroom and you’ll find a whole range of personalities, from outgoing kids to those who are so introverted that they just want to be left alone. While parents may worry that their overactive children might have a hard time succeeding in school, a new study suggests that extreme shyness can actually impact academic success as early as preschool.

That’s because that shyness can cause problems with engaging and learning, which can hinder development of academic skills, according to the study by University of Miami researchers. They found that “children displaying shy and withdrawn behavior early in the preschool year started out with the lowest academic skills and showed the slowest gains in academic learning skills across the year,” according to a university press release.

“Preschool children who are very introverted tend to ‘disappear within the classroom,’” study co-author Elizabeth R. Bell, a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology, said in a press release for the study, which was published online in the Journal of School Psychology. “It appears that while these children are not causing problems in the school, they are also not engaging in classroom activities and interactions, where almost all learning occurs during this age.”

And that can impact a child’s social-emotional development, which is just as important as academic skills when it comes to being ready for kindergarten, researchers said.

Researchers studied teacher assessments of more than 4,400 low-income preschoolers, aged 3 to 5, who attended Head Start programs. The children were assessed three times during the school year on their academic progress and for emotional and behavioral characteristics.

The researchers note that more boisterous and outgoing students may do better than their shyer classmates because they may be more likely to attract a teacher’s attention. That’s why Rebecca J. Bulotsky-Shearer, the study’s principal investigator and an assistant professor of psychology, is hoping the study results may prompt the development of classroom interventions to help all types of children.

“There are many classroom-based interventions for children that are disruptive and acting out in the classroom,” Bulotsky-Shearer said. “I think the children who show an extreme amount of shyness and are withdrawn are most at risk of getting missed.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Early Childhood Opinion Waterford Upstart on Providing Remote Learning to 90,000 Pre-K Kids
Rick Hess speaks with Dr. LaTasha Hadley of Waterford Upstart about its use of adaptive software to close gaps in kindergarten readiness.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Early Childhood Opinion How Two Child-Care Centers Put Competition Aside and Created a Partnership During COVID-19
Due to COVID-19, two early-childhood centers put their competition aside to work together to support families during the pandemic.
Charles Dinofrio
7 min read
Early Childhood New Players Fill Child-Care Gap as Schools Go Remote
As school districts move to remote instruction for the fall, day-care providers, dance studios, and after-school programs step in to fill school-day child-care gaps.
7 min read
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
Courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston
Early Childhood Will Kindergartens Be Empty This Fall?
As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow, parents around the country are struggling with whether to send their child to kindergarten this fall. Some say they won't.
6 min read
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Courtesy of Satiria Clayton