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Nurseries can be noisy places. A clutch of three-year-olds gathered round a book shout excitedly. Across the room, a small committee of toddlers negotiates over stickers and string. Outside, key workers encourage pairs of miniature gymnasts while others sing to drowsy babies. And through the cacophony, children’s use of language develops.

For parents collecting their children, the chatter and buzz of childcare settings is always reassuring. All the more so during the pandemic: another day of play and learning is done, with protective measures in place.

Parents are understandably anxious about how the pandemic has affected their pre-schoolers’ development. More than half of the 570 parents surveyed for a recent Sutton Trust report felt that their two-to-four year-olds’ social and emotional development had been negatively affected during the pandemic. A quarter of these parents felt their child’s language growth in particular had suffered. One in five had similar concerns about their physical development.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, contributed to by Alex Hendry, Department of Experimental Psychology.

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