The latest report from this important longitudinal study was published today and makes interesting reading. The study has been tracking 8000 nine year-olds and 11000 nine month-olds in order to build up a picture of the experience of childhood in Ireland.
The report published today focuses on the influence of out-of-school activities on educational performance. Among the findings were that those children who engage in ‘cultural’ pursuits outside school (e.g. speech and drama) seem to perform better at certain school subjects (such as reading and maths) than those who don’t. Cultural pursuits was only one of the indicators of enhanced performance but, for speech and drama teachers, this is very good news and something that can and should be highlighted to parents.
The report also notes that these educational benefits can be negated for children who engage in too many out of school activities. I feel very strongly about this and I am pleased that an authoritative report has highlighted the potential damage to children who are simply too busy. Time to do nothing and even be bored is an essential part of the value of childhood.
Here’s a link to the page on the Growing Up in Ireland site announcing today’s publication: Growing Up in Ireland – ‘Influences on 9-Year-Olds’ Learning: Home, School and Community