Environment, not genes, plays key role in kids readiness for school

November 16th, 2007 - 5:25 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 16 (ANI): A new study has found that a childs readiness for school is greatly dependant on the environment they come from and not just their genetics.

In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers used twins to access the level of school readiness focusing on both environmental and genetic factors.

According to researchers at Laval University, the University of Montreal, and the University of Quebec at Montreal, the findings suggest that intervention could help boost readiness in vulnerable youngsters.

For the study, researchers assessed 420 pair of 5-year old twins. They looked at four measures of school readiness such as identifying colours and shapes, answering questions about position, size and order of item, identifying numbers and counting and identifying letters and writing. Two years later, the childrens teachers were asked to rate the twins school achievement.

They found that while genetic factors played a role in the childrens core abilities, the environment shared by the twins of the same family remained the most important factor overall.

Environmental factors include family resources and income, parents behaviour with respect to learning, and childcare experiences.

Both genetic and environmental factors were found to influence the association between childrens school readiness and later school achievement, the researchers said.

Our results have important implications for preventive interventions, said Michel Boivin, Canada Research Chair in Child Social Development and professor of psychology at Laval University in Quebec City and one of the studys authors.

They should be seen as a further incentive for continued implementation and evaluation of preventive intervention programs aimed at improving the level of school readiness in children from at-risk families, she added.

The study is published in the November/December 2007 issue of the journal Child Development. (ANI)

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