The 1 Secret to your Child’s Educational Success

If you haven’t already heard we have a baby coming September 2014!

 You can watch our baby announcement video here. WE are thrilled to be having a September baby because from February to April we have a jam packed schedule of birthdays along with our Anniversary. It will be nice to celebrate our little one in a quieter time of life.

Upon finding out I was pregnant I downloaded the the Babycenter App for my phone and while exploring it I discovered my BirthClub. Have you heard of this? Well it’s where women who share your birth month talk about their pregnancy together. The first thread I clicked on was a bunch of worried moms discussing September birthdays because of the school cut-off. Many of them hoping their baby would be born in August so they could start school as early as possible. 

Just the same week my dad asked me if I had read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell where Gladwell discusses what makes an individual successful. I’ve enjoyed Gladwell’s books in the past so I went and picked up a copy. What does this have to do with our September baby and the worried moms in my birth club???

A lot more than you think…

Your child’s success depends on their age…

 

Let me explain . In the first chapter of Outliers Gladwell discusses Hockey in Canada. Parents across Canada put their children in a local hockey league as soon as their child reaches the age of entry. This is the way the professional sport in Canada finds their talent-the so called “best of the best”. However, Gladwell argues that the boys who make their way to the top might not just be the most talented. There is something else that has brought them to the top and it’s not their skill. What is it you make ask? Their age. If you look at the roster of the championship teams the players are most commonly born in January, followed by February and March.  The birthday cutoff to join these teams makes the kids born in January, February and March the oldest on the teams. And their future is paved out in hockey success. 

“In the beginning, his advantage isn’t so much that he is inherently better but only that he is a little older. But by the age of thirteen or fourteen with the benefit of better coaching and all that extra practice under his belt, he really is better, so he’s the one more likely to make it to the Major Junior A league, and from there into the big leagues….If you make a decision about who is good and who is not good at an early age; if you separate the “talented” from the “untalented”; and if you provide the “talented’ with a superior experience, then you’re going to end up giving a huge advantage to the small group of people born the closest to the cut-off date.” (Outliers, 25) 

Pretty incredible, right? So do you think this is true for all activities we put our children into? Well Gladwell found it to be true in other international sports leagues across the world. The older children of the team rose to the top.

 

But is education different?

 

I honestly hoped so but Gladwell found that AGAIN the older children in a class do better, not just in kindergarten, but throughout their entire education. He said that parents often assume that while the child may be the youngest in the class it might be a little difficult for them in the beginning but it will all equal out in the end. IT. DOES. NOT. 

From a young age children are separated into groups based on their skill. The advanced reading group vs. the regular reading group and the same goes for math ECT. However, Gladwell says that in kindergarten and preschool teachers are confusing ability for maturity” (Outliers, 29)  This decision sets the tone for the rest of their education- once they are labelled as gifted they get special attention and training for the rest of their education. 

Now, I researched the subject a little more online and found that some parents have taken this concept to the extreme and held their children back just to make sure they are the oldest in the class. I’m not sure I like this idea either. So what do you guys think??? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below

I STRONGLY recommend picking up a copy of Malcom Gladwell’s new book, Outliers. It’s a fascinating read from start to finish. Buy it here. 

 

3 Comments

  1. Nichelle

    I have often thought about the same thing! Strangely enough – I am due in Sept and am a part of the Baby Center Birth Club (although usually just to read…) and I remember that thread (or one very similar). I read it thinking – I am the opposite of so many. I do not care if my child beats the deadline. If there is any hint of “un-readiness” I will wait a year for the little one. My husband and I are both close to the cutoff date and we both repeated K. While it was a great thing for both of us, I think the year of additional maturity is what helped us – NOT another year of the K curriculum. Good luck with your pregnancy!

  2. Heather

    Totally disagree with both of these points

    Just to name a few,,,

    Sidney Crosby – Aug 7th
    Evgeni Malkin – July 31st
    Phil Kessel – Oct 2
    Steve Yzerman – May 9th
    Mario Lemieux – Oct 5
    Team Canada’s Olympic roster 5 out of 25 are born in Jan – March
    Team USA’s Olympic roster 8 out of 25 are born in Jan – March

  3. Kirsten

    So excited you wrote this! My daughter misses the cut off for preschool by like two weeks- which means she will be one of the oldest in her class. Sometimes I had felt like she was being “left behind” but I can see that there are lots of benefits to being the oldest! Thanks for sharing!

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