Wearing face masks continued to have a negative impact on young children’s language and communication skills, the education watchdog said.
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Pandemic babies struggle to understand facial expressions, the education watchdog warns today.
An Ofsted early years briefing, based on inspections of 70 providers in January and February and published today, found some providers say children have “limited vocabulary” while “some babies have struggled to respond to basic facial expressions”.
Wearing face masks continued to have a negative impact on young children’s language and communication skills, it said.
“Children turning two years old will have been surrounded by adults wearing masks for their whole lives and have therefore been unable to see lip movements or mouth shapes as regularly,” the briefing warned.
Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman warned the C oronavirus crisis created “some lingering challenges”.
Tom Wilkinson/PA Wire)
She added: “I’m particularly worried about younger children’s development, which, if left unaddressed, could potentially cause problems for primary schools down the line.”
The report said that “some providers have reported that delays to children’s speech and language development have led to them not socialising with other children as readily as they would have expected previously”.
Children have also missed out on conversations or hearing stories, with one provider commenting that young children seemed to have spent more time on screens and had started to use accents and voices from the programmes they had watched.