Alliance comments on EIF report into impact of pandemic on physical development in the early years

The Early Years Alliance has commented on an evidence review from the Early Intervention Foundation, examining the impact of the pandemic on the physical development of children under six.

The report is available here: Growing up in the Covid-19 pandemic: An evidence review of the impact of pandemic life on physical development in the early years | Early Intervention Foundation (eif.org.uk)

Commenting, Neil Leitch, CEO of the Early Years Alliance, said:

“We are very concerned about the extent to which children’s physical development has been affected by the pandemic. While we would welcome more research into the impact of lockdowns on children’s early years, practitioners have been reporting notable differences in children’s physical development since reopening their settings in June of last year – especially in urban areas where homes are often smaller and there are fewer opportunities to play outside.

“To date, education recovery funding has been largely focussed on primary and secondary schools, with a small amount of investment in early literacy and professional development for early educators. However, the youngest children have lived much of their lives under Covid-19 restrictions, and these have affected almost every aspect of normal childhood.

"Given the incredibly broad impact of those restrictions, it is essential that the government offers more financial and practical support for early educators to deliver a comprehensive, well-rounded recovery programme, that recognises the unique character of early years, including the huge importance of physical development in a young child's life.”