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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Measuring and forecasting progress in education: what about early childhood?

AUTHOR(S)
Linda M. Richter; Jere R. Behrman; Pia Britto (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: npj Science of Learning
A recent Nature article modelled within-country inequalities in primary, secondary, and tertiary education and forecast progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets related to education (SDG 4). However, their paper entirely overlooks inequalities in achieving Target 4.2, which aims to achieve universal access to quality early childhood development, care and preschool education by 2030. This is an important omission because of the substantial brain, cognitive and socioemotional developments that occur in early life and because of increasing evidence of early-life learning’s large impacts on subsequent education and lifetime wellbeing. This study provides an overview of this evidence and uses new analyses to illustrate medium- and long-term implications of early learning, first by presenting associations between pre-primary programme participation and adolescent mathematics and science test scores in 73 countries and secondly, by estimating the costs of inaction (not making pre-primary programmes universal) in terms of forgone lifetime earnings in 134 countries. This study finds considerable losses, comparable to or greater than current governmental expenditures on all education (as percentages of GDP), particularly in low- and lower-middle-income countries. In addition to improving primary, secondary and tertiary schooling, it concludes that to attain SDG 4 and reduce inequalities in a post-COVID era, it is essential to prioritize quality early childhood care and education, including adopting policies that support families to promote early learning and their children’s education.
Preschoolers’ approaches to learning and family-school connections during COVID-19: an empirical study based on a Wuhan sample

AUTHOR(S)
Fei Tan; Xin Gong; Xiao Zhang (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
The concept, approaches to learning (ATL), is an important dimension of children’s school readiness, which reflects children’s enthusiasm and engagement in learning settings. Due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), when preschools were shut down for months and children’s social interactions were greatly limited, preschoolers’ ATL might be negatively affected. However, strengthened family-school connections might have the potential to reduce the adverse effects of the pandemic. Based on a sample of 340 preschoolers from 30 classes of 6 preschools in Wuhan, China, we explored the association between family-preschool connections and preschoolers’ ATL scores.
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

AUTHOR(S)
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.
Preschool children’s drawings: a reflection on children’s needs within the learning environment post COVID-19 pandemic school closure

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Omar Alabdulkarim; Sama Khomais; Ibtesam Yassin Hussain (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Journal of Research in Childhood Education
This research analyzes the content of preschool children’s drawings as they reflect on aspects of their preschool environment that they missed most during COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures in Saudi Arabia. Children participated in collaboration with their mothers, who directed and collected their drawings. The participants were limited to a group of 41 children between 3–7 years old. The results revealed that most of their drawings were of people, followed by the school environment; the playground was the most prominent area drawn representing the physical environment. Other categories, from the most to the least drawn, include nature, daily scheduled activities, writing activities, food items, and methods of transportation. Through drawings, children showed their most important needs in the preschool environment, which provides some insight into what educators should plan for when children to return to school.
Preschool parents’ views of distance learning during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Michele L. Stites; Susan Sonneschein; Samantha H. Galczyk

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Education and Development
While research is beginning to emerge about the educational landscape during COVID-19, little attention has been paid to preschool. This mainly descriptive study examined U.S. parents’ views on distance learning for their preschool children during the COVID-19 crisis. Using a survey distributed via social media groups to U.S. parents of preschoolers (N = 166), it examined the following: the types of activities parents engaged in, obstacles to preschool distance learning, and the types of resources parents needed.
Screen time for preschool children: learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Indri Hapsari Susilowati; Susiana Nugraha; Sudibyo Alimoeso (et al.)

Published: May 2021   Journal: Global Pediatric Health
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indonesian Government enacted a study at home policy for all students. This policy also applied to preschool children aged 2 to 6 years old. The purpose of the research was to examine the duration and impact of digital media use by preschool children in urban areas in Indonesia during weekdays and weekends. Data were collected using a validated questionnaire called the Surveillance of digital-Media hAbits in earLy chiLdhood Questionnaire (SMALLQ®). A total of 951 parents or guardians (17-70 years old) who had preschool children volunteered to complete the questionnaire online.
Safety education for children cannot stop for a pandemic: transitioning an injury prevention program to a virtual format

AUTHOR(S)
Sara Seegert; Taylor D. Meehan; Regina A. Veres

Published: May 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
In-person safety programs for pre-kindergarten children were not able to go on in their usual way during the summer of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While some communities opted to cancel the programs, one organization in Northwest Ohio chose to reformat it, knowing that this education is a critical introduction to lifelong safety habits. Through social media, video-taped education from community safety professionals, and activity packets given to registrants, “Safety City” was able to go on. The new format incorporated all of the childhood safety topics normally presented in the live version of the program. The efforts described here indicate that it is feasible to alter presentation formats from in-person to virtual to connect even young children with important education. As such, similar programs needing to make this transition while the world continues to adjust to pandemic precautions may benefit from understanding the strengths, limitations, and insights from the process.
Virtual kindergarten readiness programming for preschool-aged children: feasibility, social validity, and preliminary impacts

AUTHOR(S)
Rebecca Dore; Laura Justice; Abigail K. Mills (et al.)

Published: April 2021   Journal: Early Education and Development
The global COVID-19 pandemic prevented the implementation of in-person summer learning programs designed to improve school readiness for entering kindergartners. Thus, we conducted the current study examining the feasibility, social validity, and preliminary impacts of a virtual summer learning program. Ninety-one preschoolers and their caregivers participated in a 4-week program involving one weekly teacher-caregiver meeting, two weekly Watch Together home learning activities, two weekly Play Together home learning activities, one or two weekly Read Together home learning activities, and one or two weekly teacher-child video chat lessons. Recruitment and participation indicated high levels of interest.
Online preschool education optimization based on edge computing in the era of COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Xiaoxuan Duan

Published: April 2021   Journal: Internet Technology Letters
Under the influence of COVID‐19, people's normal life and activities have been limited, such as the education of children, which leads to the emergence of online preschool education. Since online preschool education is large‐scale and time‐sensitive, the traditional network model cannot satisfy the needs of online education. In this paper, edge computing is adopted to optimize online preschool education, where a task unloading algorithm based on genetic algorithm (TUOGA) is designed to minimize the computing delay of terminal tasks. In order to verify the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed algorithm, TUOGA is compared with two task offloading algorithms, and simulation results show that the proposed algorithm outperforms them in the aspect of time latency.
Preschool education in Turkey during the Covid-19 pandemic: a phenomenological study

AUTHOR(S)
Bekir Yıldırım

Published: January 2021   Journal: Early Childhood Education Journal
This study investigated the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on preschool education and sought answers to how preschool education is implemented, what kind of activities are held, what kind of challenges need to be overcome, and what measures need to be taken to sustain preschool education. The sample consisted of 25 preschool teachers and 30 parents recruited using criterion sampling, a purposive sampling method. The study was based on phenomenology, which is a qualitative research design.
Sociodemographic predictors of changes in physical activity, screen time, and sleep among toddlers and preschoolers in Chile during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Nicolas Aguilar-Farias; Marcelo Toledo-Vargas; Sebastian Miranda-Marquez (et al.)

Published: December 2020   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The aim was to examine the sociodemographic predictors associated with changes in movement behaviors (physical activity, screen time, and sleep) among toddlers and preschoolers during the early stages of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in Chile. Caregivers of 1- to 5-year old children completed an online survey between 30 March and 27 April 2020. Information about the child’s movement behaviors before (retrospectively) and during the pandemic, as well as family characteristics were reported. In total, 3157 participants provided complete data (mean children age: 3.1 ± 1.38 years).
COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education
This paper examines the remote learning options that countries around the world have made available for pre-primary students and their families while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights trends, gaps and emerging good practices that are supported by existing evidence.
COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

The first years of a child’s life are critical to building the foundations of learning that help them succeed in school and beyond. Investment in early childhood education results in positive returns, not only for individual children, but also for building more efficient and effective education systems. Recent analysis estimated that every US dollar spent on pre-primary education results in US$9 of benefits to society.

This brief summarizes the key findings and observations from a report on the remote learning options – be it online, television, radio, paper- or mobile-based – that countries around the world have made available for pre-primary students and their families while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report was informed by the joint UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank survey of national education responses to COVID-19 and emerging good practices from 10 country case studies.

Digital literacy as a condition for positive experience of the COVID-19 lockdown for families with preschool children

AUTHOR(S)
G. V. Pavlenko; A. I. Pavlenko

Published: November 2020   Journal: Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research
Today the COVID-19 pandemic consequences for the preschool education system is one of the most popular research topics, as the lockdown led to serious disruptions to the usual way of family life that is a key condition for the normal development of a child. In Russia, a typical reaction of the authorities to the pandemic was the massive closure of childcare enterprises, that gave many families an additional burden in the form of the task of mastering the preschool education program. In this situation, digital technologies are of particular importance for the successful organization of preschool education in the family and the preservation of an emotionally positive tone in the family, according to the authors of this paper, the educational potential of which depends on how much the preschool child and his family are involved in them. Based on the results of the study, the authors conclude that digital literacy of family members is one of the conditions for a positive experience of the COVID-19 lockdown for families with preschool children.
COVID-19: Trends, Promising Practices and Gaps in Remote Learning for Pre-Primary Education

The first years of a child’s life are critical to building the foundations of learning that help them succeed in school and beyond. Investment in early childhood education results in positive returns, not only for individual children, but also for building more efficient and effective education systems. Recent analysis estimated that every US dollar spent on pre-primary education results in US$9 of benefits to society.

This brief summarizes the key findings and observations from a report on the remote learning options – be it online, television, radio, paper- or mobile-based – that countries around the world have made available for pre-primary students and their families while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report was informed by the joint UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank survey of national education responses to COVID-19 and emerging good practices from 10 country case studies.

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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.

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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.