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Seoul to distribute transparent facemasks to help preschool toddlers learn how to speak

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 2, 2021, 16:57 Updated : December 2, 2021, 16:57

[Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government]

SEOUL -- To help toddlers mimic and learn how to speak, Seoul will distribute some 45,000 transparent facemasks to preschools. The mask has a clear layer that shows the shape of the wearer's mouth so that hearing-impaired people and toddlers read and learn the shape of other people's lips.
Since South Korea was struck by a coronavirus pandemic in February, all teachers and students including preschool toddlers and high school students must wear a facemask in classrooms. 
Facemasks have become a serious obstacle for young children who are at the stage of learning how to speak. Because young children could not mimic facial expressions and the movements of mouth and lips, the speed of developing language skills became very slow. In a 2020 survey of 1,451 kindergarten teachers and parents of toddlers, conducted by Seoul-based educational civic group No Worry, 74.9 percent said that a coronavirus pandemic has affected the language developmental stage of toddlers.
Seoul will distribute two transparent masks each to 22,574 preschool teachers in December 2021. "We will continue to provide transparent facemasks to teachers so that young children can receive high-quality education amid a coronavirus pandemic," Seoul's family policy bureau director Kim Sun-soon was quoted as saying.  

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