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Editor, The Beacon:

As the school year approaches, I find myself relieved that many children birth through 5 years old will be returning to preschools.

COVID has adversely affected our school-age children; many are behind, or have suffered abuse and died by suicide due to isolation.

Our most fragile children, birth to 5 years old, cannot be excluded from the list of children who have had adverse effects on many areas of development, such as social/emotional, physical, cognitive, math, science, language, literacy, creative arts and music.

Children learn more in the first five years of life than at any other time.

Effectively, many children have lost a crucial year in their development.

As life slowly goes back to normal and children return to the early-learning environment, let us all remember that although we are required to provide a safe, healthy learning environment, there is so much more to offer our children.

Children come to us with different strengths, with unique areas of development and ability.

They come with curiosity, passion, tenacity, joys, fears, tears, laughter and so much more.

It is our responsibility to teach them to love learning, to connect with their peers, feel accomplished, develop positive self-esteem, try new things, and grow to their greatest potential.

Lastly, families, which include the children, have experienced unprecedented stress and trauma this past year. Moving into this new school year, be kind, listen to one another, be encouraging and learn together through play.

Children deserve an education; let’s give it to them.

Elishia Butko

Daytona Beach

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