Even in kindergarten, gaps seen in extracurricular activities: Race, mom’s education affect which kids participate, study says

It doesn’t take long for gaps to appear between children who participate in extracurricular activities and kids who don’t, a new study found.

White kindergarten children were 2.6 times more likely than children of other races/ethnicities to participate in athletics — the most common type of extracurricular activity, the research showed. Children of highly educated mothers were about twice as likely to take part in sports as those of less educated moms.

Similar results were found in other types of after-school activities.

Previous studies have shown that extracurricular activities can benefit children in many ways, so it is concerning that gaps in participation show up so early, saidElise Allen, a graduate student ineducational studies at The Ohio State University.

“If racial-ethnic minority students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t have access to extracurricular activities at a young age, they may miss opportunities that could help them succeed in school,” Allen said.

Allen and Arianna Black, also a graduate student in educational studies at Ohio State, led the research.

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