"Think twice before sending your child to primary school"

Having your toddler repeat the final year in kindergarten has less far-reaching consequences than if the child has to repeat its first year in primary school. That's according to research carried out by Leuven's Catholic university KULeuven and involving some 6,000 children.

In other words, if you feel that your offspring may not be ready for primary school yet, don't take the risk. Don't give in to the temptation of letting the child try it anyway, and allow him or her an extra year in kindergarten school. This is better in the long run and it avoids possibly bigger problems at a later stage. KU Leuven researchers are putting forward this conclusion after following the 6,000 children for 7 years, from their final year in nursery school until the end of primary education.

"Both decisions have major consequences," explains Machteld Vandecandelaere, one of the researchers. "But 2 of 3 children that are being sent to primary school prematurely have to repeat their year anyway. Allowing them another year in kindergarten would have had a positive impact on their social skills and feeling of self-satisfaction."

"Children that have to repeat their opening year in primary school will show more problem behaviour such as aggressive and antisocial behaviour and hyperactivity."

KU Leuven concludes that letting a toddler repeat a year in kindergarten is being perceived as a less negative thing than in primary school, because there the explanation is being sought in the child's intellectual capacities. The expectations drop and this has a negative impact."