Part 2 of a 4-Part Series— There is a lack of post-COVID education information for parents whose children were born between 2015 and 2017, despite the research that prove a decline in numbers from recent academic assessment tests. Parents are still being provided with little to no educational resources and programs for small children and it is even more prevalent in urban communities. For many, the world as we know it has shifted to the endemic phase but for a parent with young children, seeing the world open up again is anything but a relief. For the parent whose children are not able to be vaccinated and are too small for a mask, the world is a never-ending battlefield.
Fifteen studies describing 22,996 children/adolescents fulfilled the eligibility criteria from a total of 219 records. Overall, 34.5%, 41.7%, 42.3%, and 30.8% of children were found to be suffering from anxiety, depression, irritability, and inattention. Although the behavior/psychological state of a total of 79.4% of children was affected negatively by the pandemic and quarantine, at least 22.5% of children had a significant fear of COVID-19, and 35.2% and 21.3%.
These numbers are alarming and go far beyond mental health, anxiety, and behavioral issues. One of the most pressing issues has been the lack of educational resources for early childhood development.
Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress often called the “Nation’s Report Card,” showed the largest decline in reading since 1990 and the first-ever decline in math.
“That first year is so important. This learning is crucial to the rest of your education. At that age, their brains are on fire. A year of development at that age is like 10 years for us,” said Patricia Lozano, executive director of Early Edge, an early education advocacy organization.
So what can a parent do to help their child prepare for testing when they have never been tested? How do you teach your child to sit for hours at a desk in a classroom when they have spent the past two years inside the home free range or on a computer?
The answer to these questions does not come easy and unfortunately, there are not a lot of resources for parents in and outside of the school. It’s sad to say, but the research is just not there for any student under 9 years old. It is even worse for young students in moderate to low-income households.
“Many low-income children, in particular, will be far behind starting first grade, and schools will need plans to deal with the problem,” said W. Steven Barnett, senior co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, based at Rutgers University.
Learning what resources are available in your district is the key to securing your student’s educational future.
Education is only a part of what students need to succeed in a school setting. According to a study conducted by early childhood teachers, there are certain physical and emotional skills that are even more important.
The fundamental skills are as follows:
Health and physical skills (“motor skills”)
Social and emotional development
Approaches to learning
Due to the COVID pandemic, many young children are delayed in all of these areas. With a high emphasis on health and physical skills, social and emotional development, and language skills.
If your child is exhibiting a lack of development in any of these areas here are a few programs that can assist you and your child.
- Save the Children’s KinderBoost: A school readiness program helping kids and families familiarize themselves with their new school surroundings, while also immersing children in early learning activities that help put them on the same level with their peers.
- Childcare.gov: To find prekindergarten programs near you, select your state or territory on the “See Your State’s Resources” page and review the “Child Development and Early Learning” tab.
- First Things First: This program focuses on what kids should know educationally and fundamentally when they start school.
- IECMHC: The Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation is a national technical assistance center dedicated to the advancement and impact of the field of IECMHC through training, technical assistance, and resource development.
- Education Development Center: EDC designs programs that enhance school readiness and success with a special focus on meeting the needs of children from disadvantaged communities and dual language learners.
I will be dropping more information each week throughout the month of December during our COVID education series. If there is a topic that you would like us to research email us at firstname.lastname@example.org