Experts Advise UK Government to Prioritize Children’s Play over Formal Lessons

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. join forces / dʒɔɪn ˈfɔrs ɪz / (idiom) – to come together to achieve a common goal

    World leaders have joined forces to fight global warming.

  2. loosen / ˈlu sən / (v) – to make something less strict

    The government started to loosen travel restrictions within the country after the lockdown.

  3. ample / ˈæm pəl / (adj) – enough

    There’s no need to rush the preparations because we still have ample time.

  4. intervention / ˌɪn tərˈvɛn ʃən / (n) – the act of intentionally involving oneself in a difficult or an unpleasant situation to control or influence the outcome

    The teacher is thinking of a possible intervention to help the struggling student.

  5. cope / koʊp / (v) – to successfully overcome something difficult

    I’m under a lot of pressure at my new job, but I’m learning to cope.


Read the text below.

Children’s play should be prioritized over formal classroom lectures after lockdowns end, experts say.

UK specialists on child mental health have joined forces and called on the government to give children opportunities to socialize. They asserted that children should be allowed to play with their friends at school without social distancing when it is safe to do so. According to the experts, staying home for a long time may cause children to feel lonely and isolated. They added that it may be difficult for children to distance themselves from their peers when they go back to school.

In their letter to the UK government, the experts suggested some measures that will support children’s mental health as the government starts to loosen coronavirus restrictions. They urged the government to ensure that children will have ample time to play with friends both outside and inside school. The experts also recommended that schools provide the necessary guidance and resources to take care of children’s emotional well-being.

The recommendations were backed by a recent study that revealed the negative effects of isolation on children’s mental health. One negative effect was that children who experienced social isolation were five times more likely to be in need of mental health interventions than those who did not. Experts warned that such negative effects can lead to recurring mental health conditions, lower academic achievement, and economic struggle.

In a statement, the UK government acknowledged the importance of children’s mental health during the pandemic. According to a government representative, they have already issued guidelines for schools and parents on how to help children cope during this difficult time, and the country’s healthcare services will continue to be available for people who need mental health support.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that schools should prioritize children’s play over formal lessons? Why or why not?
• Aside from having face-to-face interactions with their peers, how else do you think children can avoid feeling isolated? Explain.

Discussion B

• What other adjustments do you think students will go through when schools reopen worldwide? Discuss.
• Do you think children will adjust well to changes in their usual activities at school? Why or why not?