The Meltdown Year: What happened in kindergarten classrooms last year

…. If the teachers in our town had a hard time with feral five-year olds, what was happening elsewhere, in communities that had much fewer resources? I was curious, so I proposed the topic to my editor. She gave me the green light, so I found some kindergarten teachers on a Facebook page and gave them a call. 

You know you have the right topic when you get on the phone with someone, ask one question and then they don’t stop talking for an hour. That’s what happened last month. 

The teachers told me that based on the behaviors that they saw this year, their kids were extremely, extremely isolated for two years. They knew that most had never been in daycare or pre-school. But they also suspected that some of the kids spent those two years in their apartment, watched only by a slightly older sibling, with no stimulation, no interactions with adults. They may have never left their apartment at all, even to go to Target.

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5 thoughts on “The Meltdown Year: What happened in kindergarten classrooms last year

  1. Social skills and resilience can be taught by day care/preschool, or by a parent or babysitter who’s around and available to coach the child (or even by a mixed-age gang of neighborhood kids where the older ones model acceptable behavior), but they can’t be taught by screens, which is what I think many pre-K children were spending much of their time with during COVID. It’s tragic, but now that we’re finding that even mild cases of COVID often lead to long-term brain fog and even psychiatric symptoms, I’m not sure what else we could have done.


  2. If I actually thought some kid didn’t leave their apartment, even to go to Target, I would be reporting that to CPS because that is serious abuse.


  3. My wife worked in a high school (grades 9-12) so impacts were different. Big issue no one planned for: 10th graders needed to be shown how to function as high school students as they last were in middle school.


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