Parental Strategies to Prevent Learning Loss in Children

The Covid-19 pandemic, occurring since April 2020, has had a major impact on a variety of critical aspects of everyday life. Regarding education, reduced levels of mobility has thus forced students from PAUD to engage in distance-based learning (PJJ) for close to a year. Such conditions continuing into early childhood can eventually result in a loss of learning opportunities (Learning Loss) and children can therefore be forced to experience developmental delays in their academic careers.

Under development within early childhood is a condition whereby a child’s abilities or skills experience a notable decline and fail to develop in accordance to their age and potential. These can happen due to several factors; for example, a specific teacher’s diminished ability to assist children, the limited skills of parents in providing stimulating activities, poor educational encouragement within the household, etc.

What are the specific characteristics of children who are experiencing symptoms of Learning Loss? Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. Aspects of Physical Motor Development

Children who are mostly sedentary and engage in overeating may experience a decline in their physical health, which in itself may lead to obesity. Fine motor skills can also potentially become underdeveloped due to a lack of activities which include squeezing, cutting, folding, drawing lines, printing, rolling, and regularly handling a pencil or crayon. In addition, the impact of addiction to gadgets may also potentially affect the overall well-being of one’s eyesight. Overall, these factors may lead to a reduction of a child’s ability to interact with their surrounding environment.

2. Aspects of Cognitive Development

The child’s ability to solve problems on themselves is obstructed due to being frequently assisted by their parents when doing school assignments.

3. Aspects of Language Development

The development of a child’s interest in reading may decrease due to fewer opportunities to engage with their school books, as well as less access to books to read at home. In addition, the overall preoccupation with work experienced by some parents may also reduce the communication between the parent and the child, which can decrease the child’s ability to convey ideas, as well as their desires.

4. Aspects of Social & Emotional Development

Skills regarding social interaction drop due to a lack of access to friends to play with. Likewise, this may also affect the child’s ability to be independent and empathetic.

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Efforts so as to ensure that instances of learning loss do not incur a long-lasting impact on children should involve all parties, namely everyone and everything from the central & regional governments, academic systems, families, to the community as a whole, both in the form of institutions and individuals. This is in line with the government’s policy regarding PAUD-HI (Integrative Holistic Early Childhood Development). This policy is a form of comprehensive early childhood care that includes nutrition, health, education, care, and protection, so as to optimize all aspects of a child’s early development in an integrated manner.

So then, what is the role that families, especially parents, have to play in preventing Learning Loss within children? Check out some of the following solutions!

1. Strive for a safe, comfortable, and pleasant home environment

Currently, PTMT still holds restrictions with regards to a child’s learning hours while at school. Children also continue to engage in a combination of online and offline learning (hybrid learning). To create a satisfying home environment, parents can decorate their child’s room so that it may be conducive to comfortable studying; this will indeed highlight the more scholastic aspects of their lives whilst studying within the comfort of their own home.

2. Provide stimulation for the child’s development through various activities                        

Some activities that can stimulate children’s cognitive development include praying together, reading books, chatting, singing together, or engaging in joint projects such as cooking, putting together toys, taking care of plants, etc.

3. Habituation as a means to instill good character values

Habituation is a strategy carried out regularly by parents, every day. This includes instilling habits that eventually evolve into better communication skills, restraint when it comes to scolding a child for bad behavior, as well as generally refraining from punishing the child both physically and psychologically. By introducing traits associated with a respectable character, the child will then likely become a better person for it, inheriting those traits in the process.

4. Collaboration helps in learning about a child’s overall development

The synergy between the school and the parents is necessary in order to find solutions that better keep track of a child’s developmental process. Teachers can thereby help parents by providing guidance and learning materials to apply within the child’s education at home.

5. Strive to fulfill balanced nutrition and avoid instant food as much as possible

Children have the right to an optimal standard of growth and development. A balanced nutritional intake is not only necessary for a healthy life, but also shows a positive correlation within the development of child intelligence. A healthy early developmental process includes cognitive, social, and emotional abilities.

We are unsure as to when this current pandemic will come to a close. Various efforts must be made immediately in order to prevent learning loss within children as a result of the literal loss of educational opportunities within the home and outside of it. Parents are encouraged to be creative so that children will be thus instilled with the proper motivation in order to learn effectively.

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Source: Guidelines for Preventing Developmental Lagging in Early Childhood As a Result of a Loss of Learning Opportunities during the COVID-19 Pandemic by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology; Director General of PAUD, Basic Education, and Secondary Education; Directorate of Early Childhood Education

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