The lockdown consequent to the Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it also important consequences for children. Experience is an important part of the learning process for them. The youngest children, especially, haven’t had a normal continuity of contact and communication with peers in the last one and a half year (almost two, speaking in terms of school years).
For children, mostly the youngest ones and especially when it is amatter of feelings and emotions, body language is much more important than verbal communication. Outside of theirfamily, children haven’t had, in the last period of time, much experience of communicative and expressive ways like facial mimic or gestures. Not to mention the tonic dialogue that takes place through the body contact and the muscular tension and relaxation.
Children a little older are in a more advanced stage of their development and have already accumulated a wealth of experience about playing with peers, attending school and learning routines. They have also learned something about sharing spaces and objects with their classmates and respecting turns. These social competences are very important for a positive personality development of future adults who aresocially wellintegrated
The regularity of the routine is another fundamental element of school attendance. This is very important, for example, to create the concept of space and time and give a reassuring containment. It remains important, beyond the first steps of development, for the whole childhood. In addition to this, the possibilitiesof doing and interiorising new experiences outside of the family allow the children to tell the parents about these. This way, they build, step by step, their personal story as individuals.
The lockdown has not onlydeprived the children of all thisbut has alsogreatly diminished their possibility of moving andstaying outside; it has deprived them of their body experience. In children approximately aged between two and four/five years old, all this could have postponed construction of their body memory.
What is body memory?It is the implicit, procedural, sensorial memory, the one that needs more time to consolidate but that, once done, lasts for longer. To simplify, it is what allow us to learn and automatise practical abilities like driving, cycling or swimming. Although it takes long to learn these abilities, once we have made them ours, they become part of our body memory. Because of that, even after years without practising them, we don’t need to learn them again.
Thelast, but not least important, aspect to consider is that the missed or fragmented attendance to kindergarten or preschool has deprived the children of the opportunity to do activities preparatory to writing that are very important to correctly learn writing skill in the future.
Luckily, there is nothing irreparable. The restart of in-person school attendance and, as we hope, the possibility of lifting the safety measures, at least among children, will offer them new experiences to be internalised and to take advantage of. Moreover, a well-balanced, social, cognitive and motor development can also be stimulated and supported by psychomotricity sessions, especially if done in small groups.
- Educational-preventive psychomotricity paths in groups of 2-4 children, focused on the abilities of communication, turns respects, alternation and sharing;
- Pregraphism (preparation to writing) and/or graphomotricity sessions (individual or in small groups);
- Relaxation courses