The ideal trajectory of human development beginning at birth involves increasing degrees of independence and autonomy. Newborns snuggle facing inward, babies within a few months begin to show interest in facing outward and exploring their environment. Exploration and broadened interest increase with mobility; first turning over, then crawling, then walking. Separation from family members and the home environment, once children begin attending school, marks a major step in independence.
The pandemic has effectively stopped not only the education of children, but also the socialization and very development of children world-wide for a significant period of time. This is time that is lost forever. This is time that cannot be entirely made-up.
Children need to spend time away from home and away from their immediate families. They need time in an educational environment, with teachers and peers. Schools provide time away from home, but do not often enough provide unstructured time for independently chosen activities with peers.
Colleges and Universities in the United States in recent years have reported the lack of preparedness in their students regarding levels of independence, decision making and autonomy. These are the very skills that should be acquired in childhood, prior to entering college. Imagine how detrimental it has been to the children who have been cooped up with their families and without school, classmates and friends during the pandemic. The social setback in our young children is equal in magnitude and importance to the educational setback. We must all do our best to counter the negative effects of social isolation that the pandemic has created.
Bearing in mind the parallel importance of education and the developmental benefits of attending school, we at ARS are delighted to have our students back in the classrooms and back on track in establishing their independence during these formative years.