School teachers note the difference in children who missed ECEC because of lockdown

School teachers note the difference in children who missed ECEC because of lockdown

by Freya Lucas

June 09, 2022

Teachers of children who began school this year have noted the impact of COVID-19 related lockdowns on children’s social skills, observing that children who haven’t been in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings are experiencing difficulties. 


Key aspects of settling well into school, including making friends, listening, and problem-solving are more challenging for those young children who missed out on ECEC, with teachers observing that they are struggling when it comes to adjusting to a full day of structured routine.  


Speaking with local news source The Herald Sun, primary school teacher Pauline George from St Peter Julian Eymard Primary School said “it’s taking longer to teach them these basic skills. We’ve lowered our expectations of these kids with increased ‘brain breaks’.” 


She describes children entering school “still focused on themselves” and having been unable to move past the stage of side by side play through to being able to play with others. 


Ms George’s experience is backed by research, with Professor Louise Paatsch from Deakin University’s School of Education saying preliminary research showed students do not know how to interpret their peers’ behaviour or co-operate during group work.  


“What we need is to really look now at children’s interactions with their peers, how kids use language to enter a group, start a conversation, how they react when somebody greets them,” she said.  


“Our research now is also looking at how children and young people will be able to negotiate these new skills and how they use vocabulary.” 


The original coverage of this story is available here