Kiwi preschoolers doing well

Preschoolers heading out into the big-wide world of school are emotionally well prepared in New Zealand, a survey has found.

Delegates at the Public Health Association's annual conference today were told that New Zealand preschoolers were well-adjusted and few had difficulties with their emotions, behaviour, concentration or getting along with others.

"Overall, the social and emotional well-being of New Zealand preschoolers is good. For the majority of children, no major emotional and behavioural concerns were identified by the strengths and difficulties questionnaire," Ministry of Health chief adviser on child and youth health Pat Tuohy said at the conference.

The questionnaire, which was filled out by parents and another by teachers, was an internationally validated measure designed to get a picture of a child's strengths and difficulties in the emotional and behavioural area.

It was used as part of the B4 School check to assess a child's social and emotional development.

Dr Tuohy said New Zealand children's scores compared with preschoolers in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

New Zealand preschoolers were able to get along well with their peers, manage their behaviour and emotions, pay attention and show appropriate responses, Dr Tuohy said.

The B4 School Check was introduced in 2008 and consisted of a general health questionnaire, screening for vision and hearing, and a standardised assessment of growth, dental, developmental, and social and emotional health status of preschoolers.





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