Post-Lockdown Era: Children Entering Elementary School Unable to Say Own Name – Report

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Pupils at Cleeves Primary School return to the classroom
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A study due to be published this week has reportedly found that many children entering elementary school in the UK are unable to even say their own name, so pronounced the impact of isolation has been.

A considerable number of children starting primary (elementary) school in the UK for the first time are unable to so much as say their own name, a study due to be published this week has reportedly found.

The report linked to the UK broadsheet The Times is set to reveal that developmental problems are widespread among young children in Britain, with the study set to blame pandemic conditions and a lack of parental education for the shortfalls.

According to an article published on Monday previewing the results of the year-long study, children entering their first year of primary school are not toilet trained, have never drunk out of any vessel other than a baby bottle, and are unable to communicate effectively using verbal language.

“We’ve got about 50 per cent of the children in reception and nursery who are not toilet-trained,” one UK headmaster reportedly told those conducting the study.

“We’ve got children who are still drinking from bottles with teats when they start school,” they continued. “They are four years old and their language will include the word ‘bot-bot’, because that’s their communication for ‘Can I have a drink please?'”

“We’re not teaching [children] to write their names, we’re teaching them to scribble,” another principal said, while also explaining how they once had to hold a school assembly on eating with a knife and fork as many pupils would “eat a full Sunday dinner with their hands”.

According to the preview, those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are worst affected, being an average of five months behind developmentally speaking when compared to wealthier children by the time they enter the mainline state education system.

Ultimately, the report is said to call for the UK government to “overcome squeamishness about being seen to interfere in family life” in order to solve the problem.

Such recommended intrusions on private life are set to include the state pushing education for parents, more home visits by state officials on children, as well as authorities setting up what the preview calls “drop-in centres”.

Neither the details nor the extent of these recommendations is described in Monday’s preview.

While the full study has yet to be published, the findings that children are falling significantly in regards to their intellectual, physical and emotional development is in lockstep with previous studies.

For example, a UK government report on the current state of education in the UK found that young children saw their development stall or even regress over lockdown, with social skills, in particular, taking the biggest hit as a result of infants being locked indoors.

“Today’s report finds that the pandemic has continued to affect young children’s communication and language development, with many providers noticing delays in speech and language,” the state report read.

“Others said babies have struggled to respond to basic facial expressions, which may be due to reduced social interaction during the pandemic,” it continued, while also describing some babies as struggling to crawl and walk while many infants had “regressed in their independence and self-care skills” over lockdown.

Meanwhile, researchers in the United States and Germany have noticed similar seismic impacts on childhood education, especially in regards to the reading levels of elementary school pupils, who are lagging significantly behind their pre-pandemic counterparts.

“While the disruptions to learning must end, just reopening schools is not enough. Students need intensive support to recover lost education,” said UNICEF Chief of Education Robert Jenkins on the effects that lockdown had on children across the globe.

“Schools must also go beyond places of learning to rebuild children’s mental and physical health, social development and nutrition,” he went on to say.

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