Has COVID affected your child's education? It likely has. Not only have reading and numeracy levels been compromised, but communication, life experiences, and students' relationships with each other and those in the education system have also been affected.
Although provincial plans have been created, they don't seem to address some of the critical components involving losses experienced by students overall. Although well-intentioned, the detail required to rectify the learning slide that has taken place is missing.
CBC's investigation into these provincial education initiatives, found at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/learning-curve-catch-up-recovery-plans-1.6472721, is telling. Many interviews shared the same message: provinces need to create more comprehensive, specific strategies to assess student learning levels and utilize additional funding set aside for education to have the maximum effect possible.
In addition, racialized and marginalized populations have taken even more of a toll, and these students need policies in place to get them up to speed with the levels that are consistent with standardized levels.
So much has been lost for students during the pandemic. As educators, we must embrace the emerging evidence that our children's needs are not being met.
As literacy coaches, we knew before the pandemic that many children were being disenfranchised by inadequate literacy instruction. We find that teachers are incredible and sincere in what they are teaching. However, their impact is reduced due to the oversight in their B.Ed. courses of the basics of teaching with a focus on the science of reading. This disparity is becoming even more significant given the development lost due to the pandemic.
Our enrollment coordinators note that many parents have contacted us over the last two years due to concerns about a COVID slide. However, many others realized just how far behind their child's literacy skills were after watching them participate in online learning at home.
Of course, at Halifax Learning, we consider each child's needs, ensuring they get the best possible care delivered with understanding and patience. However, the parent conversations have taken a turn. Navigating this pandemic has been an experience for everyone. Not only has the anxiety and stress that this has put on our children and educators been dramatic, but it is frustrating for parents trying to juggle their children's social, emotional, and academic needs. In addition, the emerging issue of life affordability, although not new, is also taking a toll.
The goal is for our delivery of the SpellRead program to live in teachers' classrooms. We've made some inroads in training public teachers in Ontario and with the African Canadian Services Branch in the Nova Scotia Department of Education. We have effectively trained teachers to deliver the program to youth in schools. However, this only targets a small number of students, and the issue is widespread and complex.
If parents are wondering about their child's literacy skills, we offer a free learning assessment for students. In less than one hour, you will learn more about how you or a member of your family processes language and comprehends text. Our assessment provides a clear understanding of strengths and weaknesses and gives us a picture of how the student reads. The evaluation looks at students' phonological and phonetic skills, reading fluency, word recognition, comprehension, and writing and spelling skills. The results are discussed with you, and suggestions for steps moving forward are made.
We also have a bursary program. All families can apply, and an amount is determined based on affordability.
Ultimately, teachers should have access to structured literacy training in teachers' colleges. We recommend that college educators take heed of the alarming pattern emerging and ensure that teachers are learning the basics of teaching with an evidence-based, science of reading focus in their B.Ed. courses. If you are a teacher looking for more information, please visit our website dedicated to teacher training: www.resultsyoucanread.ca
We are here to help. Reach out and book your free assessment now: