Many of us are very concerned about the physical impact and devastation of COVID-19 on our children. However much like the impact of trauma, the impact of COVID-19 during essential stages of brain development have a lasting impact on our children.
The recent Hechinger Report speaks to this issue in an article written by Goldie Hawn and Bruce Wexler. This article discusses the stress that our children have endured during this pandemic and some of the impact to their brain development particularly in their executive functioning.
Here is some of the content of this article:
….the biggest danger to our children isn’t the possibility of contracting the virus on a playground. As we protect our children from becoming infected, and from infecting vulnerable family members, we are overlooking a far greater danger to the children themselves: stress.
Stress related to the coronavirus in both public and private spaces — along with the disruption of home and school environments — is compromising the development of brain systems and cognitive skills needed for success in school and life. We know this from decades of neuroscience research on the effects of poverty, trauma and violence on brain development.
But there is also some promising news: Neuroscience has provided us with programs to mitigate the stress effects of Covid-19.
We write from years of experience. One of us established the Goldie Hawn Foundation, which provides children around the world with neuroscience-based knowledge and tools to manage stress, regulate emotions and face the challenges of difficult circumstances. The other has done 25 years of neuroscience research at Yale University, evaluating and developing programs that harness the brain’s ability to increase cognitive function and reduce achievement gaps related to poverty, as well as help children handle Attention Deficit Disorders without medication.
The article further discusses some of the ways we can help children better understand what is going on within their own neurology and some supports for their growth and brain development.
As the article points out we as leaders in schools in our society cannot ignore this reality as we help our children recover and cope with the impact of COVID-19. I appreciate this raised awareness and the emphasis on strategic interventions that will help our children deal with some of the deficits that have happened as a result of this pandemic.