In a world wide pandemic I wish that every government wasn’t so focused on children and schools “falling behind” and instead focused on children, teachers and parents MAKING IT THROUGH so at the end of this they can return to normal with a healthy body, mind and soul and able to “continue on and slowly catch up” to where they ‘should’ be by graduation.
Right now I worry so much about the role this past year is taking in mental health and how we’ve made that so much worse putting so much focus on what children are “loosing” because they cannot be in school, and how burdensome it is for parents to have to support remote learning and so forth! This is not conducive to having a strong mental health in order to actually learn and retain anything for academic success moving forward! The rise in anxiety is so high right now!
I get academics and benchmarks are important but in the grand scheme of what life is like right now the added stress and anxiety trying to make everyone do stuff that’s not developmentally appropriate especially in the under 12 age group with the “online classroom” is just insane - asking parents and teachers and everyone to try to multi task so much and trying to figure out how to make children not meant to sit still in front of a screen for 180 minutes or up to 6 hours depending on their age and not just zone out or loose control of their emotions in the frustrating effort!
At 51 years of age I consider myself a life long learner - I love learning but barely remember what I learned in elementary school and what I needed to actually know academic wise I know I RELEARNED when it finally became relevant to me in my life because I had the building blocks for life long learning because of the teachers who took the time to make learning meaningful and not mundane!
If the choice is between mental health and academic benchmarks mental health should ALWAYS come first and not sacrificed on the alter of “falling behind” - if it’s too hard take a break, get outside, cook or bake, curl up and read a book your child actually LIKES not one their forced to read cause curriculum says so - reading should be FUN not FORCED! Spend time doing hands on stuff like art , music or fun science experiments. Walk barefoot through the grass! Watch clouds go by and play the what do you see in them game!
What I DO remember most about elementary school - the school trips to African lion Safari or the farm or the science centre, playing with friends at recess on playground and the made up games we created with things like a nylon and tennis ball or a skipping rope, the science fair, book fairs, the school plays and fall carnival fundraiser - basically the stuff where any learning was also HANDS ON and involved all my senses and where I made positive memories and so the learning was reenforced by the social emotional connections I made so that formed long term memories from them to recall and later build on!
IMO right now we would all be better off if we removed the academic pressure and just focused on social emotional health and learning through hands on play activities. Turn OFF the screens! Provide children PLAY PROMPTS using materials found in any home regardless of socio economic privilege! Children won’t “fall behind” if we just take a year off and revisit the way we measure success in these formative years - they can easily catch up if they return to normal routine with their mental health and well being still in tact!
Live, Laugh, Love