Supporting Families for a Strong School Start

The pandemic has seen many children slip backwards in their learning and educational skills, but November's Offstead briefing (COVID-19 'Briefing on early years, October 2020') highlights just how crucial it is to invest in supporting the parents of pre-school children at this point in time to mitigate a detrimental impact. Parents need information, resources and their confidence bolstered in their role as their ‘children’s first educators’ to put learning foundations in place for their children to be developmentally ready to take on an early primary curriculum at school, in August this year.

With many more parents working from home or being newly unemployed, demand has reduced for nursery care with more responsibility for educational development laying in their hands. Offstead reports:

“Despite some children continuing to develop well, it is clear that not attending their usual EY setting has had a detrimental impact on most children’s learning and development. Beyond their personal, social and emotional development, four in five providers said that children’s mathematics and literacy skills had either not progressed or had declined.” (P7)

Children who have returned to pre-school settings have also been significantly impacted, with Offstead reporting, “Almost all providers said that the pandemic had significantly impacted the learning and development of children who had left and subsequently returned.”

With social distancing regulations severely reducing parent engagement in schools and nurseries, we need to rethink and reinvest in resources to give families the support they need to develop a positive relationship with early learning at home. It would be counterproductive to push parents back into the situation they found themselves in at the start of lockdown where they felt out of their depth and ill-equipped. Instead, guided, engaging, family-friendly material is needed that shows parents just how much impact they can have on their children’s educational development. Parents need input and resources to build on the little things they can easily do as part of everyday home life, with a particular focus on early literacy and early numeracy, that pay massive dividends for their children starting school and build a positive culture around learning and education at home.

We’re keen at Get Set Yeti to discuss how we can step up to offer solution.