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What are the impacts on children when their schools close?

Lindsay Groves

Accessing a quality education is very challenging for millions of children around the world. As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, one of the concerning effects is how much more difficult it will become for an even greater number of children to access the educational opportunities they need to develop and thrive. As of March 25, UNESCO reported 165 country-wide school closures, affecting 1.5 billion students.

For children living in precarious situations, school can provide a critical sense of security, consistency, and belonging that's missing in the rest of their lives. The current school closures are necessary to protect students, teachers, staff, and their families. Right To Play is working closely with partner countries to find innovative ways to continue to provide play-based education opportunities and psychosocial support for some of the populations most vulnerable to this pandemic.

Play saves lives. We have seen the power of play again and again in our more than 20 years of protecting, educating, and empowering children. Play can transform a learning space — whether that’s a physical or virtual classroom, or the living room — into an impactful and engaging place for children and youth. It can also teach important skills, like proper handwashing techniques and habits, in a way that's relatable and fun.

“[Play is] a fundamental learning tool because the reality is that children can learn through play better, quicker, faster and more meaningfully than through other methods.”

In January, Lindsay Groves, Vice President of Global Partnerships for Right To Play International, joined fellow experts on TVO's The Agenda to discuss the issues facing some of the world's most marginalized children, what children need to grow and thrive, the importance of play in a child's development, and how school provides a critical sense of security and consistency. As we fight the virus and #flattenthecurve together, it's an important reminder of what we need to do, now and later, to ensure that every child is supported to meet their full potential.

Groves discusses the importance of play at 7:58.
“Play is fundamentally the language of how children engage and make sense in the world.”

COVID-19 is challenging us in new ways. Right To Play is committed to continuing to protect, educate and empower the 2.3 million children in our programs to rise above this adversity using the power of play.