Tuesday, 19 May 2020
Back to School?
Like most people in the UK I've been watching the ongoing "back to school" debate.
What I don't understand is that all the talk seems to centre over whether the younger children are capable of social distancing or not (have these people MET 4 year olds?).
There is also a lot of talk about the educational needs of the children and of them falling behind.
I have seen little to nothing about the psychological and emotional impact of imposing social distancing on such young children in a school setting.
You tell them they're going back to school, they'll be expecting to go back to "normal" school. I predict a lot of upset when it is nothing of the kind, however much parents try to prepare them.
Yes, children are adaptable and this may only be short term. But even if successful do we want children of this age to think staying away from other children is normal? That being scared to touch their friends is normal? That you must never share your toys or food?
Older children can understand that this is a temporary measure. Younger children simply don't understand time in the same way. If you're lucky they'll be counting it in number of "sleeps".
I'm concerned that for the youngest children, not only will social distancing be damaging in the short term, it will also have lasting effects.