According to the new research findings, starting school at a young age has chances of affecting the well-being of some children, especially those who have learning difficulties and children who were born prematurely.
The research further showed that children who are younger than their peer groups when they start school have more chances of developing poorer mental health.According to the researchers, the effect is small but under the pressure of keeping up with the peer group can prove to be a tipping point for more vulnerable children.
"We found that children who started younger had slightly worse well-being -- however, this effect was very small and unlikely to make a difference for most. The challenge to well-being of being young for your school year might however be one struggle too many for children who face other challenges to their mental health," said Anna Price of the University of Exeter Medical School in England.
"Our findings can help guide parents and teachers in making decisions that best support the child," Price said.
For the purpose of research, the scientists studied more than 2000 children from 80 primary schools in Devon, England.
"Being relatively younger could be the tipping point for some, but certainly not all, children. For most it would just be something for teachers to be aware of but for children with other needs or who were born prematurely this difference could be significant," said Professor Tamsin Ford of the University of Exeter who oversaw the research.
"Awareness of this issue among teachers and educators means measures can be put in place that could help to mitigate this effect and get the best outcome for children," Ford, who is also a practicing child psychiatrist, said.