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Within the same classroom we find children who were born in different months, and the difference between being born in January and being born in December can be noticeable in the first years of schooling. The issue of the age difference is much debated and studied. If they should enroll by year of birth, or not, or if this difference influences learning.
On our site we address the effect on the child of being the youngest in the class.
Developmental, learning, or evolutionary psychology tells us that each child has a different rate of development and learning, and marks a series of evolutionary milestones and approximate ages of acquisition. It is true that development is not the same in all children, that each one has its own rhythm, but it is also true that in children with normal development, a difference of 10 months of age marks different levels of maturity and learning.
In other words, the month of birth of the children matters. This It does not mean that the youngest in the class is always behind the older ones, but it is something that must be taken into account.
In the smallest, for example, an age difference of 5 months can make the difference between crawling and walking, or between talking and not talking. In the first years of life, evolutionary changes are very rapid, and in a matter of months, children evolve and mature at breakneck speed.
The differences between the youngest in the class and the others can be seen in the acquisition of skills such as literacy, mathematics, psychomotor development, language, attention span, regulation of own behavior or understanding and acceptance of norms.
Each learning is based on a series of cognitive and psychomotor skills and abilities that not all children achieve at the same time, so the importance of personalized teaching becomes very evident.
At 5 years old a child may be ready to learn addition, but a 4 year old is not yet, and both children can live together in the same classroom. Typically, 4-year-olds will have a harder time learning it, need more time, or just learn it later, when they're ready. Or tying the shoelaces or buttoning the baby, which require certain levels of fine motor skills and autonomy, which a child who is born 10 or 11 months earlier than another can achieve but the youngest has not yet.
What could be the problem? On the one hand, the curricular objectives do not usually take into account the children's year of birth, and at the end of the course the children must have acquired a series of knowledge and reached certain objectives. It is up to the teacher to give each child what they need, but the reality of the classroom is that this is complicated. We have children with age, maturational, developmental, social or cultural differences, and with 25 children per classroom and a teacher, the task of individualizing and making flexible, and at the same time complying with the program, is difficult.
The debate is open between those who defend that these differences are not significant and do not influence children and those who defend that they do, and that they should go to school by age and not by year of birth. (Would it be better to school the child born in December 2015 than those born in January 2016?).
While it is true that this age difference does not always necessarily mean a gap in children, nor does it suppose a problem, it is important to take it into account when starting certain learning at an early age.
Certain learning and attention difficulties, false ADHD, learning delays, can be caused, among other things, by these maturational differences between children. Therefore, the month of birth is important, but not conditioning, and in the event of any suspicion of difficulties, go to experts to guide us and advise us on the origin of the difficulties.
Some research on the subject: at the British Institute for Fiscal Studies, they estimate that late children have a 72% chance of being considered a student with special educational needs.
A Canadian study investigated the diagnosis of ADHD in children, and found that children born in December were 41% more likely to be treated for ADHD than those born in January. The same was true for girls, who were 77% more likely to be treated if they were born in December.
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