The Impact of COVID-19 on Education & Ways To Keep Kids Learning
Over the past two years, Covid-19 has caused some significant changes in many of the ways we experience life. The Covid-19 pandemic triggered lockdowns and school closures all over the country and around the world. But through it all, the youngest people in our lives have shown us what it takes to be resilient through the many changes they have had to experience.
Come with us as we explore the many impacts COVID-19 had on education and suggest ways you can help your family continue learning, even if classrooms are unavailable. We will also give you tips on how Kinoo — with its patented “Magic Wand” and an interactive learning app — brings family members together to help kids overcome any learning loss experienced during and after the distance learning situation that our children all endured.
What Happened to Schools During Covid-19?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools closed in the United States and worldwide. In fact, over 168 million students weren’t able to attend school — many for a year or more. With school closures, many families had to rely on remote learning.
What Is Remote Learning?
Once schools closed due to the Coronavirus, teachers, students, and parents had to shift into remote learning education systems for the 2020 school year. Remote learning is when academic lessons take place in a virtual setting via the internet. It allows both teachers and students to continue to engage with each other as they would in person, without leaving their respective homes.
While there were some established remote learning programs prior to Covid, unfortunately, for schools that had been entirely or even primarily in person, there wasn’t time to make well-thought-out plans for the transition to virtual learning. Many learners went to school one day, only to find out they would not be attending school the next.
Teachers were forced to become (and are) incredible superheroes who guided students and their parents into this new virtual world. For many schools, teachers would hold classes live over a virtual platform or record lessons for students to playback on their own devices. Students would turn in their work in a virtual format as well.
Parents were left to ensure their young students were seated, focused, and engaged in their online lessons while also trying to make sense of their own jobs becoming remote or of being furloughed until further notice.
All in all, families worked hard to make the best out of a strange and difficult time, and for the most part, we were able to make things work despite the challenges. But some of the solutions also have limitations in understanding.
What Are the Limitations of Remote Learning?
Remote learning platforms are incredible tools when you can’t be in a face-to-face classroom, but they have their disadvantages as well.
Some of the issues that negatively impact the ability of students to learn remotely include:
- Poor internet connectivity
- Lack of necessary technological tools (tablets, computers, smartphones)
- Lack of accommodation for students with disabilities or learning challenges
- No designated quiet learning space for students in their homes
Low-income students may be at an even bigger disadvantage due to difficulties in acquiring the must-have tools, especially expensive technology and internet access.
What Was the Educational Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Creating a learning environment while adhering to social distancing requirements had its limitations. Though teachers and parents tried to give students the same level of learning opportunities they had prior to the pandemic, the negative effects of COVID-19 on education still occurred. These effects occurred across multiple levels of education, from kindergarten through high school to higher education.
In the classroom, teachers can give one-on-one attention to students and offer additional resources if they notice a student needs more help or is ahead in a particular area of study. Students can also work in groups to help each other master certain skills or projects. Much of this immediate feedback and opportunity for teamwork are lost when learning remotely.
Lower Reading Scores
Reading skills began to slip starting in the 2020 academic year — the beginning of educational institutions closing as a COVID-19 intervention —through the summer of 2020 for first to fourth-grade students.
Based on test scores, reading skills began improving again in the fall of 2020, when schools started reopening in certain communities, but not enough to make up for the loss of the spring and summer student learning that was lost while schools were not in session.
Lower Math Skills
Comparing fall 2020 to fall 2021, academic performance in math dropped significantly through the COVID-19 crisis. One study showed that math scores might even have dropped more than reading skills. In addition, student performance in math dropped even more in lower-income communities, possibly as much as 20% more.
Mental Health: Short-Term and Long-Term Impacts
Shifting from in-person learning to distance learning was not easy for anyone. Instead of a typical school day, students were taken out of their usual routine and their daily interactions with friends and thrown into enrollment in classes online.
Everyone was stuck at home, unable to go out and participate in their normal activities. And as if these trying changes weren’t enough, experts say that most children were also acutely aware of and impacted by their parents’ stress during this time.
With all of these changes and uncertainties, many students, specifically early elementary school students, experienced increased anxiety and difficulty managing their emotions. Many of these young and vulnerable students and their families are still dealing with g the impact of the pandemic on their mental health.
Another impact of school closures has been a significant reduction in students' ability to socialize. Being around peers of their age, playing together, learning cooperatively while working together on school projects, and practicing conflict resolution and team dynamics are all missing or decreased during virtual learning.
How Can You Keep Your Kids Learning and Support Their Emotional Needs?
Luckily, children are very resilient. While learning outcomes during the height of distance learning initiatives may not have been ideal, there are ways to overcome these impacts. Whether you have chosen to send your children back to in-person learning, continue distance learning, or homeschool, you have options.
Read on for nine ways to continue supporting your child's educational and emotional needs in the aftermath of this public health care crisis.
Set a Routine
For many families, any semblance of the routine that existed before the lockdown became nonexistent. With the amount of information and shifts in policy coming via social media and the news, plus the lack of a school schedule, it was hard to maintain a regular family routine.
If your little one is still struggling to get back on track, try setting a regular daily routine. Have times set for meals, play, learning, reading, engaging with friends and family, and a wind-down time at the end of the day. General routine setting is also a good idea if you are heading into summer to minimize the impact of the change on young kids.
Life happens, so your routine doesn’t have to be set in stone. However, when there is predictability during the day, kids may feel more confident and secure. Plus, routine helps caregivers strike a positive, productive balance between their children's educational and social needs.
Educational Screen Time
Educational screen time can be an incredibly beneficial tool to supplement the lessons from your district’s school curriculum. While there are many options for educational screen time, it's important to note that Kinoo was uniquely created with the help of education experts. It provides your kids an opportunity to build critical educational skills with the help and support of experienced older loved ones.
Sitting down together to read a beloved book is an incredible way to boost childhood literacy, especially since reading was one of the skill sets hit the hardest by the lingering effects of the COViD-19 shutdowns. As such, modeling the importance of reading can be very beneficial to the younger generation.
Set regular times aside to read together. You can read aloud, or if your children are old enough to read silently on their own, then you can each read your own book sitting side by side. Bringing in grandma or grandpa (or another cherished relative), either in person or via a video call, is another amazing way to help your little one’s reading skills flourish.
With Kinoo, your child can share the joy of reading over a video call with far-away loved ones. Afterward, loved ones can ask questions about the story to help your child work on memory and comprehension skills.
Then, the readers can click on the Kinoo Let’s Draw to unwind and draw pictures from the story, interpreting the action or pretending to be illustrators. Besides being fun, drawing and memory have an incredible, highly-researched relationship. Putting pen to paper can help students recall information faster and easier.
Play Board Games Together
Keeping the fun in learning is so important, especially for young kids. Board games, card games, and other types of multi-person games offer a fantastic opportunity to combine play and critical skills, like counting, strategy, reading, and following directions. Board games also promote healthy social skills when participants work together cooperatively or compete and act gracefully, whether winning or losing.
Kinoo offers many kid-friendly, engaging, and interactive games to play over a video call with friends or family. Enjoy popular favorites such as Memory, Matching, or Four in a Row.
Continue Open Conversations
When kids are prevented from spending time with their friends and family like during the COVID-19 lockdown, it can be difficult for them to understand, especially the younger ones. Continuing to have an open dialog with your kids may help you both work through the current and past challenges of COVID-19.
If your kids don't want to dig deep into their feelings, that’s okay. Ask them questions about their interests, so when they’re ready to talk, they’ll know you're ready to listen.
Connect With Your Family
Family offers a sense of community and love. During these uncertain times, spending in-person time with the ones you love may be difficult. That’s where Kinoo can help your family continue to build these invaluable relationships.
Schedule Kinoo calls regularly so your little ones can get to know family members. Kinoo offers a magical experience, allowing them to spend quality time with loved ones while engaging in fun, learning-based games and activities. If the grownups need some help getting the conversation started, Kinoo offers tips, hints, and conversation starters to help make the most out of your video conversations.
Another way to enjoy Kinoo is to set up a virtual playdate. Does your little one have an older loved one or friend who also enjoys Kinoo? Set up a time for them to video chat and play a game or activity. They can work together to bake cookies, make a pizza, or decorate a cake.
Social skills that may have been impacted by COVID-19 are not lost forever. Give your kids opportunities to engage through virtual playdates, and they’ll be ready for in-person play when everyone feels comfortable getting together again.
A Virtual Space of Their Own
The impacts of COVID-19 have been felt worldwide by people of every age. One negative impact has been the decline of educational growth during the lockdown and school closures. While teachers, students, and parents all did their best during distance learning, math, reading, mental health, and social skills have all been negatively affected during this time.
But all is not lost because kids, teachers, childcare providers, and parents are incredibly strong and resilient. With some extra help at home, your children should be able to get back any skills that were lost during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Kinoo is an excellent tool to help your family through these trying times. Kinoo allows us to continue supporting learning and important social connections while keeping vulnerable people socially distanced.
If you are concerned about any educational milestone your student is not meeting, talk to their teacher to see if there is anything else you can do to support your child’s learning needs at home.