SOLVE magazine Issue 03 2021 | Page 10


A generation marked

As vaccination programmes slowly put the world back on its feet , albeit still a little unsteady , attention is turning to the long-term impacts , in particular a generation of school children who will forever be ‘ the COVID generation ’.

A fter a ‘ coalface ’ career in social care , Dr Emma Maynard was well equipped to segue into research , specialising in the health and wellbeing of families and children living ‘ complex ’ lives . It was already a fraught subject in an uncertain world – and then came COVID-19 .

“ The impact of the pandemic has been absolutely seismic for young people ,” says Dr Maynard , who has a passionate interest in the mental health and wellbeing of children , young people and their families .
“ They have really understood every last millimetre of how different life has been , and how restricted and how threatening everything has felt . It is absolutely going to identify this generation .”
As a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth ’ s School of Education and Sociology , and School Governor at a local school in Portsmouth , Dr Maynard says the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt not just academically , but also emotionally and socially .
She points out that for the youngest children who were just starting school , many of them have only known online learning , socialising in bubbles , and being unable to hug their grandparents in case they pass a deadly virus to them . This group has experienced a real loss of learning during lockdowns , with reports of young children going back to school who can ’ t remember how to tie their shoelaces or eat with a knife and fork .
Homeschooling was challenging for all parents , especially trying to juggle it with working from home , but some were better equipped or resourced than others , says Dr Catherine Carroll-Meehan , Head of the School of Education and Sociology .
“ Where I ' m concerned is with younger children , and particularly children from families where the resources may not be as great to be able to support learning at home , and where parents ’ own educational experience may limit what they feel they can do with their own children ,” Dr Carroll-Meehan says .
ISSUE 03 / 2021