Parents of young children tend to worry a lot about whether or not their kids are making adequate gains as they launch into their academic careers.
"Can Johnny read the list of 100 high-frequency words?"
"Does Betty know how to count to 500?"
"Is Tom doing quantum physics yet?"
While early education creates an important foundation for academic skills, many parents would be surprised to know that social skills are actually far more predictive of outcomes into adulthood than early academics.
For example, a study published in 2015 showed that even while controlling for family demographics and early academic ability, the social skills observed in kindergarten showed significant correlation with well-being at age 25.
That's a lot of staying power!
Regardless of how advanced of a reader they were or how much money their parents made, kindergarteners who demonstrated social competence were more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, get a job, and stay out of jail than those who showed a lower level of social competence.
So while many parents and schools may be feeling the pressure to cut back on play and social interaction in order to get more "hard skill" instruction time in, it's actually those "soft skills" that are most predictive of long-term success.
By Amanda Morgan