Back to school: Kindergartners may need extra help due to pandemic social disruptions

Aug 9, 2022, 6:25 PM | Updated: Aug 17, 2022, 10:55 am

MURRAY, Utah — Kindergarten teachers in the Murray City School District have noticed some changes with kindergarten students since the pandemic began.

“Kindergartners coming in since the pandemic are very different than before,” said Susan Wright, the district’s kindergarten specialist.

Wright said teachers across the district have seen more tears, shorter attention spans, less maturity, and difficulty sharing and taking turns.

“The 5 year olds weren’t acting like typical 5 year olds,” she said.

Normally, Wright explained, kindergarten classes settle into routines by October and can then start really focusing on learning. But over the last two years, that process has sometimes taken until January or February.

“We believe it’s because their socialization opportunities have not been the same,” Wright said. “They didn’t have the preschool opportunities or the church group opportunities, playgroup opportunities, or even classes that a lot of kids typically went to where they learned those skills.”

Marci Allred has taught kindergarten for 11 years and noticed the pandemic’s impact right away.

“We started noticing kids are coming in less prepared,” Allred said. “They weren’t ready to sit and listen. They weren’t as socialized with sharing, taking turns.”

Kindergarten teacher: “They weren’t ready to sit and listen. They weren’t as socialized with sharing, taking turns.” (KSL TV)

So, how can parents, grandparents, and other family members help incoming kindergartners?

“It’s easy stuff,” Allred said. “Can they follow multi-step instructions? Can you put your shoes on and go get your coat?”

Allred said parents can help kindergartners learn how to share, wait their turn, stand in line, and verbalize emotions and when they need something.

“These are skills that every kid needs for their whole life,” she said.

Allred said parents don’t need to worry about having flash cards or formal lessons to help kindergarten students prepare for the upcoming school year.

“Just talking to them throughout the day. What they see. What they hear,” she said. “What sounds do you hear in a word? Can you count how many objects there are? How many goldfish crackers do you have? Just simple things.”

Even if there aren’t other kids around, Wright said kindergartners can still learn sharing and taking turns with adults in the household.

“Like playing games and having opportunities to take turns,” Wright added. “Having those situations where you have to wait for something.”

Both Wright and Allred said reading to kindergarten-aged children is key to improving attention spans.

“Just being able for them to sit to hear an entire story can be new for a lot of kids,” Wright said. “That can be a really long time — five to 10 minutes — to sit and listen to something.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Back to School

A school classroom with chairs and desks...
Brooke Williams

Project to provide air purifiers in Utah K-12 classrooms

Cleaner air improves student performance, decreases COVID transmission and school absenteeism. New project provides air purifiers for classrooms in Utah.
15 days ago
Deanie Wimmer

Chronic Absenteeism leads to rise in F grades in most of Utah’s largest school districts

Schools all over Utah are dealing with the problem of chronic absenteeism. Educators are seeing thousands of absences, and as a result, failing grades.
16 days ago
Box Elder High School (KSL TV)...
Eliza Pace

In excessive heat, some districts without A/C move to half days to spare students

With record-breaking, three-digit temperatures and older schools without air conditioning, two districts and one additional high school have announced changes to a half-day schedule to accommodate students.
27 days ago
Shara Park

Taylorsville High Wellness Center sees more students in need of basic items

Taylorsville High created a wellness center to give kids a break, however over the course of the year staff saw an increasing need for basic supplies like food, clothing, and hygiene products.
28 days ago
A teacher starts to reset up her classrooms at Freedom Preparatory Academy as they begin to prepare...
COLLIN BINKLEY, AP Education Writer

Reading, math scores fell sharply during pandemic, data show

A new national study finds math and reading scores for America's 9-year-old students fell sharply during the pandemic, underscoring the impact of two years of learning disruptions.
28 days ago
Lauren Steinbrecher

Tooele High releases students after broken AC causes uncomfortable class temps

The Tooele County School District was forced to release all students at Tooele High School Wednesday, after a broken air conditioning system led to classroom temperatures too high to work in.
29 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Back to school: Kindergartners may need extra help due to pandemic social disruptions