Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Starting school boosts development

11.05.2017

A longitudinal study carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development sheds light on the effects of school entrance on the brain development of children. The findings are published in Psychological Science.

Sitting still, following lessons, resisting distractions by fellow pupils and other enticements – starting school is a challenge for first-year pupils, who have often come from play-oriented kindergarten. However, the structured learning environment of school appears to affect children’s brains rapidly.

Within the first year of school, the ability to concentrate and to control behavior is already better than that of kindergarten children of similar ages. This is the result of a study carried out by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of California, Berkeley.

„Between five and seven years of age, children make great leaps and bounds in development, particularly in the ability to control their own behavior. We were interested in finding out whether this is only related to general maturation of the brain or also to school entrance, which often occurs in this phase of life,“ says lead author Garvin Brod, formerly at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, now at the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF). The study is part of the “HippoKID” project at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, and the first neuroscientific longitudinal study examining the effects of school entrance on brain development.

The study’s findings are based on data of 60 children who all were five years old when assessed for the first time. In order to assess changes resulting from school entrance, the tests were repeated after one year. Whereas all of the children were still going to kindergarten at first testing, some of the children were already attending school by the second testing session. On both occasions, the children worked on computerized tests assessing their ability to sustain attention and control their behavior. In addition, the children’s brain activity while performing one such test was measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a brain imaging technique that is safe for use in children.

Both groups – the kindergarten children and the schoolchildren – improved their attention and the ability to control their behavior. However, the schoolchildren showed a bigger improvement than the kindergarteners. Additionally, they showed a bigger increase in activation of a brain region that is known to be important for sustained attention: right parietal cortex. Moreover, children with a greater increase in parietal activation showed a bigger improvement in control performance. „Our results indicate that the structured learning environment of school has a positive effect on the development of behavioral control,“ states Garvin Brod.

The researchers caution against over-interpreting their findings: „This does not mean that early school entrance is necessarily better for children. We can not answer the question about the right time to start school – this has to remain an individual decision. Each child is different. And we don’t yet know whether the effects are lasting,“ says co-author Yee Lee Shing, principal investigator of the HippoKID Study at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and now lecturer at the University of Stirling. "But these results demonstrate, for the first time, how environmental context shapes the brain in five-year-olds transitioning into school," adds co-author Silvia Bunge, who works as a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley.


Background information

Original article
Brod, G., Bunge, S. A., & Shing, Y. L. (2017). Does one year of schooling improve children's cognitive control and alter associated brain activation? Psychological Science. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0956797617699838

About the study
The study was funded through a Max Planck Minerva Research Group led by Yee Lee Shing. The overarching goal of this group was to better understand the mechanisms through which environmental factors, such as school entry and stress-related social disadvantage, may affect neural and behavioral development. The HippoKID Study longitudinally followed children born close to the cut-off date for school entry who subsequently did or did not enter school that year.

Max Planck Institute for Human Development
The Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin was founded in 1963. It is an
interdisciplinary research institution dedicated to the study of human development and
education. The Institute belongs to the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, one of the leading organizations for basic research in Europe.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.mpib-berlin.mpg.de/en/media/2017/05/starting-school-boosts-developme...

Nicole Siller | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht How Humans and Machines Navigate Complex Situations
19.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A gene activated in infant and young brains determines learning capacity in adulthood
13.11.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists found a correlation between the structure and magnetic properties of ceramics

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Unique insights into an exotic matter state

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Physicists studied the influence of magnetic field on thin film structures

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>