There are many factors that contribute to the social mobility gap here in the UK, not least the huge variances in day to day childhood experiences.
Today’s report highlights ‘There is growing evidence that the past year of lockdowns has had an impact on young children’s language skills, according to research. Data from 50,000 pupils and a survey of schools across England have shown an increased number of four and five year olds needing help with language.’
From the perspective of YouTeachMe’s founder Paul Rose, an ex-headteacher here’s our contribution to the report findings.
“As a teacher, I taught many children who didn’t have the experiences we commonly expect children to have. Whilst learning about the alternative location of Skegness in our Y2 geography lessons, it became clear that many children (average age = 7) had never been on holiday and had never seen the sea. After discovering this, our Y2 school trips became an annual pilgrimage to ‘Skeggy’ to learn about its ‘geographical features’ (i.e. to play on the beach and each fish and chips).
The absence of these types of life experiences harm a child’s development. If they haven’t experienced something, how can then learn from it or talk about it?
Which leads me to today’s report showing that the Covid lockdowns have delayed children’s speech and language skills. It’s clear to see why this would be the case – if children don’t do anything, they don’t have anything to talk about. If they don’t have anything to talk about, they will quickly stop talking as much. Practise is king where speech is concerned in my teaching experience.
In many ways, the lockdowns have given many people insights into aspects of the life experiences of young people with inclusion needs.
Through our work with special schools, we saw that fear of unknown situations could prevent young people from many aspects of life. To overcome this, we created thousands of short videos about real-life, everyday situations which give young people the chance to experience situations in a safely realistic way. Talk naturally follows, and learning with it.”
Lockdown has shown that every child needs this kind of support, in many aspects of their lives and not just during a pandemic.
Our work to create triggers for talking about all of life’s experiences has just begun.
YouTeachMe currently contains 1,250+ conversation starter videos which are available for any school using our platform to access.
Let’s get our children talking again so that they can interact with peers and adults in a way that helps them grow each and every day.