The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in disruption to schooling worldwide, and indeed, here at Kidz Village, we have not been immune. Children, perhaps more than adults, have been adversely affected by the disruption, missing contact with their friends and peers, as well as the losing their regular education. We will, of course, do everything possible to try and ensure that the disruption has been kept to a minimum.
As a highly respected kindergarten in Bangkok, we always put the needs of children and our own team first. Like all schools, we were concerned about the impact school closures would have but agreed that health and wellbeing was the primary concern and controlling the pandemic by whatever means was in the best interests of everyone. We have been, and will continually do so until this dreadful pandemic is over, on hand to provide support and help remotely wherever possible.
There has never been a need for school closures on the scale that we have experienced in the last twelve months in history. We are aware of the impact that this has had on students and their families. Alternative learning methods and socialising have been needed to maintain at least some degree of normality. No one could have imagined before COVID-19 that children worldwide would be taught online via virtual classrooms and restricted from meeting friends and even members of their own family.
One of the most notable concerns that parents have expressed has been regarding their child’s emotional wellbeing. Children of all ages have been separated from the friends, and their usual routines have been lost. In younger children, this can be confusing, but if they are engaging in other social interactions, it can generally be quickly forgotten about and have little long-term impact.
However, one aspect that can be concerning for children in their formative years is there is an absence of play and a lack of opportunity to try things for themselves. While many parents are fortunate enough to be able to replicate this at home, it is definitely not true for all families. Although children will always catch up, it can impact their development, so every effort needs to be made to address it. The level and type of play will inevitably be different, but parents or other caregivers should find the opportunity to replace this where possible as it will help with learning, social skills and behaviour.
The stage of their schooling will primarily determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a child’s learning. Fortunately, for children who come to our kindergarten, we anticipate that the long-term impact will be minimal, assuming that the situation doesn’t continue indefinitely with future closures.
Our biggest concerns, as outlined above, are the lack of play, opportunities to explore and social interaction and the impact that this has on a child’s development. Virtual classrooms and online contact certainly have their place, but it is no substitute for face-to-face contact where it is far easier for teachers to recognise when students are falling behind. We are doing everything we can to help parents provide homeschooling so that regular learning can continue as much as possible. In most cases, we have noticed negligible differences in our pupils’ academic development.
Homeschooling has been something that most parents are now familiar with and one that children probably enjoy more than parents! Very few parents have or indeed want to have the same skills as a professional teacher, putting everyone under strain. However, with our assistance in providing work at home, it is something that most parents have got to grips with. For most younger children, the opportunity to spend more time with their parents is they welcome.
Where possible, parents should create an environment where their children can mix with others of their own age as this will lessen the detrimental impact of homeschooling. We have found that most pupils have responded well to being taught at home but are then pleased to return to school and see their friends. It is unlikely that the relatively short period of homeschooling will have any impact on their long-term education and future prospects.
The current situation
While most of the points we have addressed have been relating more to previous periods of lockdown, there is no escaping the fact that Thailand is now experiencing its largest number of daily cases since the outbreak began. At the time of writing, we have not been informed by the Ministry of Education that schools are required to close. However, we are aware that the situation is continually evolving, and we are monitoring it closely with contingency plans already in place.
As with the previous lockdown, we will be working with parents and caregivers to ensure minimal disruption should we be required to close. We don’t envisage it being a long-term situation, and as such, we would like to reassure parents that we don’t believe that there will be any long-term impact on their child’s education.
Long-term impact on children
Children are superb at bouncing back from most challenges, so most experts believe that the long-term impact will be less than what some may fear. It is probably an exciting adventure for most younger children and something that they won’t think about in years to come. Of course, we always encourage parents to pay close attention to their child to look for any significant changes in behaviour. It could include their child becoming more withdrawn, having a short attention span or struggling with learning. If you have any concerns, you can contact the school as we have professionals on hand to assist you.
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We hope this article helped address any concerns you have had regarding the impact of COVID-19 on your child’s long-term education. We will always make ourselves available to help parents and answer any question that they may have. For more information, please call us on +66 2888 3337 or contact us directly via our website.