The purpose of this study is to explore the possibility that admitting too young a child into formal education systems (e.g., kindergarten, elementary school) can negatively affect that child's self-esteem in later years. Although educational psychologists agree that a young child's self-esteem can be positively influenced by teachers, parents, and peers (Lawrence, 1981), it is not certain that a younger child, relative to her classmates, receives the same benefit as do older cohorts. Databases created from student records, in conjunction with the administration of the Culture Free Self-esteem Inventory (forms A & D: Battle, 1981) will be used to assess student self-esteem on children in the second and ninth grades. The Self-esteem Inventory used in the study is a pencil-and-paper exam standardized to reflect cultural differences within the United States and Canada. The results expected after data analysis is that self-esteem in children can decline over time (Butler & Gasson, 2005) but that such decline is not moderated by age of entry into formal schooling.
In the United States children generally enter formal or compulsory education systems (e.g., kindergarten) around the government mandated ages of five to eight years old, depending upon which state the student resides (Colasanti & Zaleski, 2007; Miller, 1995). More specifically, age at time of school entry can affect how well the new student performs academically, interacts socially, and determines the degree of responsiveness and engagement relative to classroom instruction (Blair, 2002). Furthermore, researchers recently demonstrated that children, who are comparatively younger than their cohorts at time of school entry, suffer from reduced self-esteem in later years (Thompson, Barnsley, & Battle 2004).
[...] In sum, the CSI comes in three forms; form which can be used with children in grades form a shorter form also for children but consisting of only 30 items; and form AD, a 40-item adult version yielding general, social, and personal self- esteem scores (Chiu, 1988). Forms A and B were standardized on hundreds of children from grade three through grade nine and contain short statements about one's self, such as often feel ashamed of myself,” and are answered either or Incidentally, Chiu questions if the CSI is truly “culture-free” since norming studies have not been undertaken to confirm this assumption. [...]
[...] The development of a self-esteem questionnaire. British Journal of Educational Psychology 245—255. Lincove, J. A. & Painter, G. (2006). Does the age that children start kindergarten matter? Evidence of long-term educational and social outcomes. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis 153—179. Lyon G. R. & Kransnegor, N. A. (1996). Attention, memory, [...]
[...] For instance, can family structure or a change in family structure variable not considered within the proposed study) negatively affect self-esteem? Do individual characteristics, such as motivation and attention span, lead to counterproductive behaviors associated with low self-esteem? In future studies, if age at school commencement is found to negatively affect learning ability and self-esteem, how will this findings influence policy makers? References Battle, J. (1981). Culture-free self-esteem inventory for children and adults. Seattle, WA: Special Child Publications. Beck, A. [...]
[...] As previously discussed, maturation is vital to a child's development of the cognitive abilities required to remain focused on task. Accordingly, delaying a child's entry into formal schooling may not necessarily improve probability of academic success; indeed, overly young entry into the formal education system is associated with reduced self-esteem (Thompson et al., 2004). The construct of self-esteem can be regarded as the evaluative component of one's self-concept (Chiu, 1998); nonetheless, definitions of this construct vary as do the authors who define them. [...]
[...] The purpose of this study is to confirm that self-esteem in children can decline over time, but that such decline is not moderated by age of entry into formal schooling. METHOD Participants Participants for the present study will be recruited from a group of 2167 elementary school students coming from seven different schools, but all from within the same school district. The proposed school district is located approximately sixty miles south of a large Midwestern city (i.e., population over 200,000), and residents of the district are predominantly lower-middle to middle-income wage earners. [...]
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