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Children’s language development is hindered by COVID-19

Children’s language development is hindered by COVID-19

Posted May. 25, 2021 07:35,   

Updated May. 25, 2021 07:35


“We are wondering if teachers should wear a transparent mask to help with children’s slow language development,” the head of a daycare center in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province said during a phone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on Monday. She was shocked to see that her four-year-old students could only speak words, not sentences. “A three-year-old should be able to form simple sentences by connecting two words. I am witnessing something like this for the first time in my 21 years of running a daycare center,” said the interviewee. “It’s concerning children were only able to see teachers’ eyes for over year when really they should watch the mouth to learn the language.”

It was reported that seven out of 10 heads and teachers of public and national daycare centers in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province believe that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on children’s development. In addition, 68.1 percent of parents experience the negative impact of COVID-19 on their children’s development.

According to the non-profit organization, No Worry, and the office of Jung Choun-sook, a member of the Democratic Party of Korea, a survey of 1,451 heads and teachers of national and public daycare centers and parents in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province was conducted for six days from April 27. As a result, 71.6 percent of the heads and teachers of daycare centers said COVID-19 has negatively affected children’s development with the biggest change being the reduced opportunities for physical activities. With fewer activities overall, children did not have enough opportunities to develop large and small muscles.


Parents have similar concerns as teachers. However, parents chose “increased exposure to media” as the worst negative impact of COVID-19, unlike teachers.

Experts said COVID-19 has had comprehensive effects on children’s development. “Children learn a language by interacting with others,” said Choi Min-soo, former professor of the Department of Early Childhood Education at Gwangju National University of Education. “The “contact-free society” has affected language development, which in turn prevents children from expressing their opinions and affects their aggressive behaviors and socialization.

sojee@donga.com · asap@donga.com