As policymakers, principals, and parents wrestle with the reopening of schools, many are struggling with what feel like competing priorities. How do we address the gaps in academic learning that so many children experienced during this pandemic year? How do we ensure children’s social and emotional health after a truly unprecedented time in their development? And how do we support their very real and urgent need to process the experience they have just been through?

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has widened opportunity gaps and exacerbated challenges already facing low-income families and children of color. In this post-pandemic moment of reckoning for American public education, it will be more important than ever to focus on developing the whole child — not just improving children’s math and reading scores.

Providing a comprehensive learning approach will be an important step, especially for our youngest learners. Yet some models and programs do a far better job of fostering all aspects of children’s growth than others.

As local and state educators support re-openings, they should take action so that these approaches can flourish. Repairing the damage of the pandemic begins by supporting our youngest learners.

Policymakers can support program models that provide for additional individualized instruction. The pandemic has exacerbated inequity, including the disparate opportunities and outcomes that children from low-income families, those of color, English learners, and children with disabilities have experienced. As a result, there is an even greater need for teachers to personalize instruction and scaffold learning based on children’s individual learning trajectories.

As we look to the next school year, I hope that we can take the steps needed to support every child in all aspects of their development.

Read the full article about stabilizing post-pandemic education by Chrisanne Gayl at InsideSources.