Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Kindergarten Enrollment Lags Since COVID-19 Pandemic. Some Parents Don't See the Point; More Kids Skipping Kindergarten Post-Pandemic , and other C-Virus related stories

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Kindergarten enrollment lags since COVID-19 pandemic. Some parents don't see the point:
Aylah Levy had some catching up to do this fall when she started first grade.
After spending her kindergarten year at an alternative program that met exclusively outdoors, Aylah, 6, had to adjust to being inside a classroom. She knew only a handful of numbers and was not printing her letters clearly. To help her along, the teacher at her Bay Area elementary school has been showing her the right way to hold a pencil.
"It’s harder. Way, way harder," Aylah said of the new grip.
Still, her mother, Hannah Levy, says it was the right decision to skip kindergarten. She wanted Aylah to enjoy being a kid. There is plenty of time, she reasoned, for her daughter to develop study skills.
The number of kindergartners in public school plunged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerned about the virus or wanting to avoid online school, hundreds of thousands of families delayed the start of school for their young children. Most have returned to schooling of some kind, but even three years after the pandemic school closures, kindergarten enrollment has continued to lag.
Some parents like Levy don't see much value in traditional kindergarten. For others, it's a matter of keeping children in other child care arrangements that better fit their lifestyles. And for many, kindergarten simply is no longer the assumed first step in a child's formal education, another sign of the way the pandemic and online learning upended the U.S. school system.
Kindergarten is considered a crucial year for children to learn to follow directions, regulate behavior and get accustomed to learning. Missing that year of school can put kids at a disadvantage, especially those from low-income families and families whose first language is not English, said Deborah Stipek, a former dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. Those children are sometimes behind in recognizing letters and counting to 10 even before starting school, she said. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Loren Elliott
More kids skipping kindergarten post-pandemic:
When Sunny Lee’s son was ready for kindergarten in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had just begun. His school in Pleasanton, an eastern suburb of the San Francisco Bay, was holding classes online, like most others.
Lee opted out, after seeing what distance learning via Zoom was like for young children.
“I think the formatting was not ideal for young kids. It was just very disruptive and hard to keep track of, and there was just not that much engagement,” Lee said. “Socialization was a big reason for me to send him to school, and he wasn’t getting that.”
The following year, in 2021, when school was back in person, Lee’s son started first grade and her daughter started kindergarten. But after two weeks of school with Covid restrictions, she pulled both children out and began homeschooling them again. They returned to public school for the 2022-23 school year.
Lee’s children are among thousands that did not enroll in public kindergarten in California in 2020 or 2021, years when the state saw drops in kindergarten enrollment. And even among students who enrolled, many missed a lot of days in school.
The pandemic triggered a different attitude about kindergarten, with a growing number of parents either opting for other programs, waiting a year to start kindergarten, or skipping kindergarten and beginning public school in first grade at the mandatory school attendance age of 6 years old.
Some parents were deterred by virtual learning; others were spooked by Covid risks and restrictions. Three years after the pandemic began, many parents still feel their children aren’t ready for kindergarten, after the pandemic disrupted and delayed their ability to play and socialize with others and learn skills from coloring and counting to potty training.
“The pandemic kids have really been struggling on the social side, with ADHD, anxiety and all that comes with not knowing how to play with other children,” said Deana Lundy, client services manager at Bananas, an agency in Oakland that helps families find child care and state subsidies for child care. “If you get a kid that was with grandma all this time and never even went to a child care center, it’s an even bigger barrier.” --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

US kindergarten enrollment lags post-pandemic as families explore alternative early education options

Effects of COVID-19 pandemic, affordability crisis showing up in child development data, experts say

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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