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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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A mixed-methods study of early childhood education and care in South Korea: policies and practices during COVID-19

Hae Min Yu; Yu Jin Cho; Hyun Jeong Kim (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
This study of South Korea's response to COVID-19 has three purposes. First, it uses document analysis to examine policies, strategies, and resources offered by the South Korean government and public organizations to support young children and families during the first 6 months of the pandemic. Next, it uses open-ended surveys with 30 directors of early childhood institutions to explore institutional-level supports and needs during the pandemic. Finally, it looks at the discrepancies between stated policies outlining the South Korea’s response to COVID-19 and the lived experiences of early childhood educators as a route to arriving at recommendations for education policymakers and other stakeholders.
Trainee Teachers’ Perceptions of Online Teaching During Field Experience with Young Children

Laila Mohebi; Lawrence Meda

Published: July 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
The global pandemic of COVID-19 forced trainee teachers from the United Arab Emirates to have virtual field experiences in the field of early childhood education. The various stakeholders, young children, families, preservice teachers, and university faculty hold different perceptions of online teaching formats. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of trainee teachers and faculty supervisors about online field experiences with young children. The study was done using a qualitative case study within an interpretivist paradigm. Twelve internship students and five supervisors were purposively selected to complete open-ended questionnaires about virtual field experiences.
The impact of COVID-19 on early childhood education in the Asia-Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa: insights from the results of rapid regional personnel survey

Yoshie Kaga; Kyungah Bang

Institution: UNESCO
Published: July 2021

Declared a global pandemic on 11 March 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 has had far-reaching impacts on every facet of life around the world, exacerbating pre-existing  inequalities  and  negatively  impacting  on  vulnerable  and  disadvantaged  populations  the  most.  Learning  continuity  has  been  disrupted  by  school  closures,  generating an unprecedented situation worldwide. According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) data collated in July 2020, over 18.6 million children in pre-primary education in forty-eight Sub-Saharan African countries and 4.4 million pre-primary teachers – eighty-five per cent of whom were women – in twenty-four countries in the Asia-Pacific region were affected by school or centre closures. Recognizing the possible severe and detrimental impact that COVID-19 might have on ECE personnel and their practices, UNESCO Bangkok and Dakar teamed up with several partners to undertake regional surveys in the Asia-Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa from April to July 2020. Based on the regional surveys, this report features eight key findings and three key messages to better understand ECE personnel’s needs and to identify possible responses to support them.

Connections and disconnections between home and kindergarten: A case study of a 4-year old child's digital practices and experiences in early childhood

Rosienne C. Farrugia; Leonard Busuttil

Published: June 2021   Journal: BJET British Journal of Educational Technology
Various studies outline the ‘digital disconnect’ that exists between the digital experiences that children have with technologies at home and at school. It is however important to document the increasingly multimodal technological world that young children are inhabiting. Framed by socio-cultural and ecological theoretical perspectives, this case study of a 4-year old girl investigates how the contexts surrounding the child impact the use of digital technologies and the differences, if any, between the two contexts. Participatory methods are used to gather data from the child participant in relation to her experiences, preferences and interactions with technology, which was triangulated with the views of one parent and her current educator. Qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis
Maintaining professional standards in early childhood teacher preparation: evaluating adaptations to fieldwork-based experiences during COVID-19

Larisa Callaway-Cole; Ashley Kimble

Published: June 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
At institutions striving to maintain face-to-face field placements and instruction amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, circumstances changed daily in response to new developments at the university, local school districts, and personal circumstances. This mixed-methods study explored and evaluated the adaptations made to early childhood teacher preparation courses in an undergraduate program in order to provide relevant training through a variety of instructional modalities including face-to-face, virtual, hypothetical, and mixed reality. Focused on maintaining professional standards through adapted coursework designed to meet student learning outcomes, instructors reflected on multiple instructional modalities and analysis of demonstrable learning outcomes for students in a four-year bachelor’s degree program resulting in state teacher certification.
Shifting to remote learning during COVID-19: differences for early childhood and early childhood special education teachers

Elizabeth A. Steed; Nancy Leech

Published: June 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
This study explored similarities and differences in how early childhood education (ECE) teachers (n = 947) and early childhood special education (ECSE) teachers (n = 160) provided remote learning to young children and their families following COVID-19 shelter in place orders in the spring of 2020. The most utilized remote learning activities for both ECE and ECSE teachers were the provision of activities for families to use at home, communication with families, online lessons, and singing songs and reading books. Both types of professionals spent more time planning and communicating with families than providing instruction to children.
Initial development of a national survey on remote learning in early childhood during COVID-19: establishing content validity and reporting successes and barriers

Meaghan McKenna; Xigrid Soto‑Boykin; Ke Cheng (et al.)

Published: June 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
This article describes the development and administration of a survey to identify early childhood educators’ successes and barriers when delivering remote instruction (e.g., online whole or small group instruction) during the COVID-19 pandemic to children 2–5 years old. The survey was developed using procedures outlined by the commonly accepted stages of an instrument development process. Content validity was established using four approaches: (a) identifcation of the purpose of the survey, (b) creation of a blueprint of items, (c) cognitive interviews, and (d) expert panel review. A total of 1,053 early childhood educators began the survey, with 808 (77%) of the responses included because educators met the inclusion criteria of working in the United States and responding to at least one question related to remote instruction.
Cyber-safety and COVID-19 in the early years: a research agenda

Susan Edwards

Published: June 2021   Journal: Journal of Early Childhood Research
Young children aged birth to 5 years are known users of the internet, both unsupervised and in collaboration with adults. Adults also use the internet to share details of children’s lives with others, via sharenting and educational apps. During COVID-19 internet use by children and families rose significantly during periods of enforced stay-home. Internet use by children, and by adults on behalf exposes children to conduct, contact and content risks online. These risks mean that cyber-safety in the early years is increasingly necessary, especially concerning increased internet usage during COVID-19. While cyber-safety is well developed for primary and secondary-school aged children this is not the case for young children, their families and educators. This paper proposes a research agenda for cyber-safety in the early years, using critical constructivism and internet studies to define the internet as a non-unitary technology. Three main objects of study concerning cyber-safety in the early years, including the reference to COVID-19 are identified for targeted research, including: technologies, context and policy.
The implications of COVID-19 for early childhood education in Ethiopia: perspectives from parents and caregivers

Janice H. Kim; Mesele Araya; Belay Hagos Hailu (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
Recent research on the effects of COVID-19 on school closures has mainly focused on primary and secondary education, with extremely limited attention to early childhood education (ECE). To address this gap, this study identifies the extent to which parents and caregivers with pre-primary school-aged children were engaged in their children’s learning during school closures in Ethiopia.
Doing what I can, but I got no magic wand: a snapshot of early childhood educator experiences and efforts to ensure quality during the COVID-19 pandemic

April Crawford; Kelly A. Vaughn; Cathy L. Guttentag (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted early childhood programs serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in dramatic ways. After temporarily closing, many educators quickly adapted their procedures to ensure children’s safety as they reopened to provide childcare for essential workers and then the community at large. This manuscript reports on statewide efforts to continue quality improvement initiatives for early childhood programs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This study first describes the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for over 2000 educators—teachers, administrators, and specialists—who completed surveys in the Spring and Fall of 2020. These survey data come from a statewide system called the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS), designed to track the professional development needs/progress of early childhood educators. Second, it describes an example of how a statewide professional development and quality improvement program shifted to remote delivery during the pandemic.
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) during COVID-19 boosts growth in language and executive function

Catherine Davies; Alexandra Hendry; Shannon P. Gibson (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Infant and Child Development
High-quality, centre-based education and care during the early years benefit cognitive development, especially in children from disadvantaged backgrounds. During the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns, access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) was disrupted. This study investigates how this period affected the developmental advantages typically offered by ECEC.
The effects of COVID-19 on early childhood education and care: research and resources for children, families, teachers, and teacher educators

Mary Renck Jalongo

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
The COVID-19 world health crisis has profound implications for the care and education of young children in homes and schools, the lives of preservice and inservice teachers, and the work of college/university faculty. This article begins by discussing the implications of a world health pandemic for education and the challenges of conducting a literature review on such a rapidly evolving topic. The next four sections categorize the COVID-19 literature into themes: (1) threats to quality of life (QoL) and wellness, (2) pressure on families and intensification of inequities, (3) changes in teaching methods and reliance on technology, and (4) restructuring of higher education and scholarship interrupted. Each of the four themes is introduced with a narrative that highlights the current context, followed by the literature review. Next is a compilation of high-quality, online resources developed by leading professional organizations to support children, families, and educators dealing with the COVID crisis. The article concludes with changes that hold the greatest potential to advance the field of early childhood education and care.
Early childhood educators’ wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Patricia Eadie; Penny Levickis; Lisa Murray

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
The importance of Early Childhood (EC) educators’ wellbeing has been brought into sharp focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, as educators have navigated numerous additional stressors while providing education and care services for some children and ongoing support for many others learning at home. This study aimed to explore the impact of the pandemic on EC educators’ wellbeing and educator-child relationships, as growing evidence shows the infuence of these factors on children’s developmental outcomes.
Family-school cooperation: an online survey of parents and teachers of young children in Spain

Andrea Otero‑Mayer; Ana González-Benito; Belén Gutiérrez-de-Rozas (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
Given the closure of schools due to the global confinement resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, family-school cooperation has become a priority in most educational stages, but especially in Early Childhood Education and Care. This research analysed how parents dealt with this new situation, as well as the way in which family-school cooperation was established. Two online questionnaires were developed by the researchers. Respondents included 1266 families with children between the ages of infancy and six years, as well as 1235 early childhood education teachers from all regions of Spain. Results show that family-school cooperation is associated with several family and school characteristics and that families have neither the tools to face this new situation, nor the time to educate their children at home. This, together with the fact that some households do not have Internet access, makes family-school cooperation a challenging matter, especially in times of pandemic.
Distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey: identifying the needs of early childhood educators

Ümran Alan

Published: April 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
This study aims to identify the needs of early childhood educators regarding distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This basic qualitative research was carried out with a study group of 24 early childhood educators, all of whom were determined via a maximum variation sampling method. The study data were gathered via interviews conducted with the participants and analyzed through an inductive approach. The study findings showed that early childhood educators need to improve their technological competencies, have more interactive resources at their disposal, be able to take advantage of a user-friendly educational platform specifically designed for the early childhood period, be provided with the resources to serve families, and have support for their psychological well-being. Considering the essential role of teachers, which the COVID-19 pandemic has called to mind, it is of vital importance to meet the abovementioned needs so as to improve the quality of distance education in early childhood.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.