This week, there were discussions about the impact of the pandemic on both children and education providers. And we also saw the launch of a fund to support early years settings to give children the opportunity to have free sports and activity classes.

 The Guardian reports on the emotional distress of the past year could lead to serious mental health problems later in childhood. During the pandemic older children have had much higher levels of emotional difficulties than would be expected at their age and according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Bristol, many have been displaying behaviours more commonly seen in younger children.

In a Daily Mirror opinion piece, Dr Miriam Stoppard called for the prioritisation of children’s mental health and urgent improvements to meet the needs of children.


Sports fund launched for early years

To combat the effects of Covid-19 and multiple national lockdowns, a £1 million early years sports fund has been launched to give every child attending nursery in England, the opportunity to have free sports and activity classes. The fund, created by Super Star Sport UK, aims to get as many children and early years settings as possible involved, and hopes to boost physical, social and emotional wellbeing for all. Read more about this initiative in Day Nurseries.


Headteachers call for funding to match the rise in child poverty

Primary schools are asking for extra help as researchers suggest there has been a sharp rise in young families falling into poverty due to the pandemic. The evidence shows that there has been an 8% rise in the number of primary school children in England qualifying for free school meals in just three months from October 2020 to January 2021. There is a similar story in secondary schools. Read the full story here.


Reports of a ‘growing’ attainment gap for pre-school aged children

Sky News reports that the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers has widened since the start of the pandemic. One in six of those surveyed said that fewer children are at the expected level of learning and development compared with March 2020. The survey, carried out by the Early Years Alliance, revealed that 82% of the respondents felt the government was not doing enough to tackle the pandemic’s impact on the learning and development of those aged under five.

With these conversations taking place and the new school year starting in September we at the Montessori Group will be supporting parents and carers with ideas on how to help your children be “school ready”.  Over the coming weeks we will be discussing what this term really means and how over the next few months you can help your child become more “school ready”.