Philadelphia (CBS) — For years, Arnold Gesell told American parents what to expect of their children developmentally. His books were known worldwide, describing stages of kids from one through fourteen.

This month the Gesell Institute for Human Development at Yale is reporting on studies done to determine how child development today relates to Gesell’s observations published in 1925, 1940, and after his death by colleagues in 1964 and 1979.

Most people think kids are more “savvy, wise and worldly.” They use computers at early ages and kindergarten programs have grown more academic.

Have kids really gotten smarter, can they learn things sooner, what effect has modern culture had on child development? Items identical to those Gesell created were used in interviews with more than 1200 kids, grades 3-6 in public and private schools in 23 states.

The Harvard Education Letter reports that study results showed remarkable stability around ages at which most children reach cognitive milestones– being able to count four pennies or draw a circle. All children were asked to complete 19 such tasks, and the results echoed Gesell’s findings 85 years earlier.

What’s changed? Kindergarten, not kids!

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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