The epidemic has delayed the social skills of young children, says the offset chief

A growing number of young children are unable to understand facial expressions due to the low chance of developing their social skills during the epidemic, according to the UK Education Observatory.

Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of Offstead, said the most vulnerable children are those who live in small houses without gardens, usually spending more time on the screen during continuous lockdowns, resulting in delays in learning to walk and crawl.

He said it was clear from the four education briefings published by Offstead that the epidemic had created a “protracted challenge”.

He said: “I am particularly concerned about the development of young children, which, if not addressed, could lead to potential problems for elementary schools.”

In a briefing on early years, based on visits by 70 early-year providers in January and February 2022, some providers stated that children had “limited vocabulary” while “some children struggled to respond to basic facial expressions”, partly because of contact with them. Wearing people.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Spielman said that epidemics and lockdowns have led to delays in speech and language learning; Problems with social interaction and confidence, such as not knowing how to take turns; As well as delays in walking and crawling, resulting in more obesity.

The children were also not at the expected stage in developing essential self-care skills, such as being trained in ribbons, tying their shoelaces and taking off their coats, he added.

He said: “Children spend less time in primary school, less time with others outside the family. For some kids they don’t interact too much if they look at the screen all the time. The kids are talking in funny voices and they are spending a lot of time watching cartoons. “

To help their child develop, Spielman advises parents to talk to their children as much as possible, taking them for walks, shops and parks so they can see the world and exercise. “Those basic parenting issues are more important than delaying their entry into school,” he said.

He said schools were well prepared to deal with children at various developmental levels, noting that maximum efforts would be made for children who had experienced the worst in the epidemic.

The inspectorate has seen “a lot of really good work” throughout the early years, school and more education, including catchup strategies to close the knowledge and skills gap.

But Offstead found that funding for two-year-olds had not been used as much as before the epidemic, which Spielman said he hoped would “see the opposite” as he returned to normal life.

The report found that some staff members of nurseries have come up with innovative ways to help young children catch up, such as recording activities through a “caterer group” with a diary or encouraging children to express their feelings through “emotion cards”. Pictures of children displaying different facial expressions.

In schools, offsetting that the epidemic continues to affect students’ knowledge, headmasters have also expressed particular concern about the children of the reception year, who they say have delayed speech and language development.

For 11- and 13-year-olds, teachers are struggling to help students grasp what they missed while preparing for exams.

James Bowen, director of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers at the School Leaders Union, said: Vital services such that all children in need of specialist assistance receive it as soon as possible. “

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: “Our ambitious recovery plans are underway across the country, with nearly bn 5bn invested in high quality tutoring, world-class training for teachers and early-year practitioners, additional funding for schools and extension of time in colleges. 40 hours a year.

“We have simplified the national tutoring program to reach out to as many students as possible, with funds being sent directly to the school from next year. The Nuffield Early Language Intervention Program is being used by most schools to improve the language skills of reception-age children. “

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