Prepping 'Generation COVID' for life at school
Preschool-aged children have experienced a blow to their social and practical skills because of spending significant portions of their lives in lockdown, according to experts.
The first day of school can be emotional, but for children who have spent significant portions of their lives in some form of social isolation, there are additional challenges.
Early child development experts from Firbank Grammar School believe that this new generation of school starters will be the first in modern schooling history to be so behind in their development.
To help parents integrate their young ones into an ever-pivoting world, Firbank has created a handy checklist full of tips and tricks along with essential early learning milestones that they can achieve at home.
Firstly, parents need to establish if their school choice is ready to integrate their ‘Generation COVID’ child. Do they have plans prepared for a cohort of children who may have never developed the skills they need to start school due to lockdowns?
The checklist advises that while some kids who have siblings might already dress up in their old uniforms ready for ‘big school’, other children will have no idea precisely what is in store for them.
That’s why it is essential to overcome these unfortunate COVID disadvantages and help them prepare for not only school but how to deal with the constantly changing environment when one week children are at school and the next week they are not.
Children rely on routine to know what to expect in their lives and feel safe. These past two years have delivered anything but a stable environment needed to transition from home. Simple things like learning nonverbal communication from people other than your immediate family are hard when you have never seen an unmasked face.
Does the child know how to open and close a lunch box? Can they put it back in their bag? These simple tasks can start to be integrated into daily life to ease the transition into school.
One thing parents can do is have their child help prepare their snacks in the morning and put them into a lunch box. Let them know that the food is for snack time, then set an alarm on their phone. When it rings, they can tell their child it is snack time — not before or after.
Usually, children will have a slow introduction to school. Schools should have straightforward programs to introduce teachers to prep students before using technology with their parents for learning. If the child isn’t familiar with their teacher and classroom, they will be at a disadvantage.
The list also advises running through some new elements such as school bags, booklets and uniforms before the first day to build familiarity. Parents can download the complete list on the Firbank Grammar School website.
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