SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — With the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is becoming a priority in elementary schools, posing difficulties to teachers and students alike.
As elementary schools began online classes due to coronavirus concerns, most outdoor play activities such as hide-and-seek and soccer were halted.
Teachers are striving to come up with non-face-to-face play programs but have limits in what they can do.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, elementary schools strengthened play-centered educational programs designed to encourage students’ participation.
The share of play-centered classes among overall classes increased, particularly for lower grade elementary students who are less accustomed to using texts.
With this kind of play activities being halted, however, elementary students are losing their chance to improve their social skills.
“Children who are socially inept learn social skills by playing with their peers. They now lost the chance due to the outbreak of COVID-19,” an elementary school teacher said.
According to a 2017 report by the Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation, 80 percent of the 727 elementary students surveyed showed preference for group activities that they can play with friends.
Elementary teachers also expressed regrets about the fact that the play-centered activities were replaced by note-taking classes such as Korean language, math and English and activity papers.
“Music and physical activity classes are halted since they elevate the risk of exposure to COVID-19,” another teacher said.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)