Impact of COVID on young children’s language & communication: Are you worried that your Reception child has fallen behind?
A recent COVID impact study reports that children aged 4 and 5 years old (Reception) are struggling with language and communication development. The schools surveyed by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) are also reporting their concerns around their pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.
At St. Margaret’s our Reception children benefit from small class sizes, high staff-to-pupil ratios and specialist teaching. Following the first lockdown last Summer, our Nursery team assessed each child on their return to school in June and liaised closely with the Reception team over each child’s learning journey. Children were then assessed again when they came into Reception in September, with the teaching then tailored to focus on key academic and developmental areas, at a suitable pace. The children that were new to the school were provided extra support where necessary to help them settle in and catch up.
Working in year group bubbles, with a dedicated Early Years outdoors area, the children quickly developed socially, and the staff were able to spend time with them individually to ensure their mental health and wellbeing.
We did not let the second lockdown defeat us either! With the support and co-operation of our parents we were able to continue the timetabled lessons in English, maths, topic, art, music, show-and-tell, sport and ICT. We also continued with our 1-to-1 sessions for reading, phonics and maths sessions. This meant we could continue the strong teacher-pupil relationship, minimising gaps in learning and development as best we could. Once again, when they returned to us in March, we were able to boost support where needed both academically and mentally.
Every day is full of individual learning and group fun at St Margaret’s. All our Reception children practise personalised tricky words and phonics sound cards daily on a 1-to-1 basis in school, and these cards are also sent home to really make sure they are solid with these before moving into Year 1.
Additional afternoon booster sessions tailored to fill any gaps in their learning are done in small groups and 1-to-1 where needed.
Extensions are set, such as reading comprehension books being sent home to our highest readers, to really stretch them and ensure their comprehension ability matches their fluency.
Tailored role-play and continuous provision are set up and changed throughout the week to really encourage the children with their Personal, Social and Emotional skills, which would have been missing whilst in lockdown. Encouraging lots of discussing, working together, teamwork and resilience as a group to ensure they feel confident and comfortable working with peers and adults on tasks.
If you are worried that your child has fallen behind and would like to speak to us to find out how we can help get them back on track, do not delay, contact email@example.com or 01787 273 050