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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

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

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Family responsibilities and mental health of kindergarten educators during the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Ontario, Canada.

AUTHOR(S)
Natalie Spadafora; Caroline Reid-Westoby; Molly Pottruff (et al.)

Published: May 2022   Journal: Teaching and Teacher Education
The present study, conducted during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, Canada, addressed the association between family responsibilities and mental health (depression and anxiety) among kindergarten educators. Participants comprised 1790 (97.9% female) kindergarten educators (73.6% kindergarten teachers; 26.4% early childhood educators) across Ontario.
Primary school reopenings and parental work

AUTHOR(S)
Pierre-Loup Beauregard; Marie Connolly; Catherine Haeck (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Canadian Journal of Economics
This paper exploits the geographical pattern of primary school reopenings during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada to estimate the impact of school reopenings on parental employment and work hours. It uses a triple-difference approach, in which it first compares parents of primary-school children in regions where schools reopened to similar parents in regions where schools remained closed and add parents of older, secondary-school children as an additional control group. This study estimates the impact of school reopenings separately for mothers and fathers, and for single parents and parents living in dual-parent households.
Physical activity and BMI before and after the situation caused by COVID-19 in upper primary school pupils in the Czech Republic

AUTHOR(S)
Ladislav Pyšný; Jana Pyšná; David Cihláˇr (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Regular physical activity is a very important factor in the healthy development of an individual and an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. However, today’s population still suffers from an insufficient amount of exercise caused mainly by technological progress and often inappropriate conditions for practising sports. In relation to this, we are grappling with a steady increase in obesity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions for regular physical activity became even more unfavourable, with the declaration of a state of emergency and antipandemic measures leading to the closure of sports grounds and sporting competitions. Using a questionnaire survey of a sample of children (n = 1456), this study found that, already before the pandemic, 69% of the observed sample had not met the recommended amount of physical activity, and only 67% of the sample was of normal weight. By comparing both groups after the end of pandemic restrictions, it found statistically significant differences at examined indicators of the children’s Body Mass Index (BMI), their physical activity, and free time spending habits.
The impact of COVID-19-related mitigation measures on the health and fitness status of primary school children in Austria: a longitudinal study with data from 708 children measured before and during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Gerald Jarnig; Reinhold Kerbl; Mireille N. M. van Poppel

Published: March 2022   Journal: Sports
The COVID-19-related closing of schools and sport facilities resulted in major changes to daily routines worldwide. It was the aim of this study to investigate the impact of COVID-19-related mitigation measures on the health and fitness status of primary school children in Austria. Seven hundred and eight primary school children (7–10 years old) participated in the longitudinal study. Data on height, weight, waist circumference, and fitness were collected before (September 2019) and during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic (June 20, September 20, March 21, June 21).
Primary school students’ online learning during Coronavirus disease 2019: factors associated with satisfaction, perceived effectiveness, and preference

AUTHOR(S)
Xiaoxiang Zheng; Dexing Zhang; Elsa Ngar Sze Lau (et al.)

Published: March 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
Emergency online education has been adopted worldwide due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Prior research regarding online learning predominantly focused on the perception of parents, teachers, and students in tertiary education, while younger children’s perspectives have rarely been examined. This study investigated how family, school, and individual factors would be associated with primary school students’ satisfaction, perceived effectiveness, and preference in online learning during COVID-19. A convenient sample of 781 Hong Kong students completed an anonymous online survey from June to October 2020. Logistic regression was conducted for 13 potential factors.
Online pair-programming: elementary school children learning scratch together online

AUTHOR(S)
Liat Bodaker; Rinat B. Rosenberg-Kima

Published: February 2022   Journal: Journal of Research on Technology in Education
The COVID-19 pandemic raised the need to examine online learning methods also in young children. This study examined elementary school children’s performance and attitudes during and toward an online programming learning activity utilizing the pair-programming Agile method that may foster 21st-century skills, including collaboration and computational thinking. Forty 4th–6th grade children with basic programming knowledge of Scratch were randomly assigned to either a pair-programming or solo-programming condition. Overall, children in both conditions enjoyed the online learning activity and completed it successfully. In particular, pair-programming seemed to entail an extra benefit to girls who generally preferred working in pairs. Nevertheless, children in the pair condition took longer to complete all tasks, perceived the third task, which was completed individually, as more difficult, and were less active when their partner was more competent. Implications for post-COVID-19 learning are discussed.
Remote learning and its effects on the well-being of primary school learners in Germany

AUTHOR(S)
Tobias Schroedler; Drorit Lengyel; Jürgen Budde (et al.)

Published: January 2022   Journal: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education
This paper presents a study on remote learning of primary school children during the first school closures that were imposed in Germany in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. Data were collected at a primary school covering learners from age 6-12 and include a comprehensive survey amongst parents (n=69) as well as interviews with learners (n=17). Employing a mixed-methods approach, we first analyse the parent-survey’s quantitative dataset. The analyses demonstrate that using modern technology for teaching and for communication between teachers and learners positively impact learners’ motivation and well-being. Multivariate statistics show that teacher-learner contact frequency as well as teaching-learning transparency are predictive towards learner well-being.
Parental support for young learners’ online learning of English in a Chinese primary school

AUTHOR(S)
Jian Tao; Yueting Xu

Published: January 2022   Journal: System
Online language learning is challenging to young learners who often need high levels of support from teachers and parents due to their limited skills in self-regulated learning. While technology integration in education is on the rise, there continues to be a lack of research into how young learners can be better supported in online language learning. This qualitative study examines how parents support young learners' online learning of English during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on interviews with 30 parents of students in Grades 1–5 at a Chinese primary school. The study reveals a range of supportive practices: monitoring of learning emerged as the top priority for parents, followed by affective, academic and technology support. Most of these parental support strategies were mediated primarily by the children's grade level and/or parents' socioeconomic background. Parents also sought teachers' help and played bridging roles to enable teacher-student interaction, particularly when they were unable to provide direct help themselves.
Effectiveness of resilience training on social self-efficacy of the elementary school girls during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Shima Gadari; Jamileh Farokhzadian; Parvin Mangolian Shahrbabaki

Published: December 2021   Journal: Clinical child psychology and psychiatry
Children, especially girls, are more vulnerable during crises, who need to acquire skills such as social self-efficacy to meet the challenges of the environment. Given that, much progress has been made in e-learning; its capabilities can be used to promote children's health. This study aimed to determine the effect of virtual resilience training on the social self-efficacy of elementary school girls. This experimental study was performed on primary school girls aged 9-10 years in southeastern Iran.
Children are back to school, but is play still in lockdown? Play experiences, social interactions, and children’s quality of life in primary education in the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

AUTHOR(S)
Ana Lourenço; Fernando Martins; Beatriz Pereira (et al.)

Published: November 2021   Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The right to play is crucial for the overall development of children. Several studies highlight the need to have time and space to play, especially at school where children spend much of their time. Unfortunately, in formal education the obsession with academic achievements sidelines and ignores the importance of play. The neglection of play had already reached a critical stage before the pandemic, so data are needed to realize how the right to play in school is presently affected. This paper aims to understand children’s play experience in primary education during the pandemic. It investigates what activities children participated in and what materials were used, and provides insight into the social interactions between peers. Furthermore, children’s quality of life is explored. A group of 370 Portuguese children answered a questionnaire on play and social interactions, alongside with Peds 4.0TM on health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Time to teach: teacher attendance and time on task in secondary schools in Rwanda

AUTHOR(S)
Spogmai Akseer; Ximena Jativa

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021
In Rwanda, over 3.5 million children were estimated to be out of school in 2020 when the country closed all schools as a safety measure against the spread of COVID-19. The government quickly developed a national response plan and started the process of hiring teachers, constructing classrooms and training in-service teachers in remote-learning pedagogies. Prior to the lockdown, schools were already experiencing challenges, including low attendance rates. In the post-COVID-19 environment, learning losses are expected to be significant, especially on the acquisition of foundational skills, and will hinder the ministry's efforts to achieve the learning outcomes of its new competence-based curriculum. A Time to Teach study in 2020 in Rwanda found that low teacher attendance was a common problem in primary schools. This study seeks to support the Ministry of Education by providing a comprehensive understanding of secondary school teacher attendance in the country. It builds on findings from the primary schools' study, to understand how attendance challenges may be similar or different across education levels, and more importantly, how these can help inform teacher policy design and implementation.
Time to teach: understanding teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Liberia

AUTHOR(S)
Silvia Peirolo; Ximena Jativa

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

In Liberia, recurring school absenteeism and post abandonment are considered critical obstacles to quality education. Although national political actors recognize absenteeism as a major impediment to quality education, studies on the factors influencing teacher attendance in the country, including national policies and practices at the community and school levels, remain scarce. Also, there is a lack of knowledge on the direct and indirect ways the coronavirus pandemic and the measures adopted to contain it impact primary school teachers. This Time to Teach study seeks to fill these knowledge gaps. The report provides valuable insights into how the COVID-19 crisis may exacerbate existing education system challenges that affect teacher attendance and time on task. It also collects and strengthens the evidence base on the factors affecting the various dimensions of primary school teacher attendance to inform the design and implementation of teacher policies.

Time to teach: teacher attendance and time on task in primary schools in Nigeria

AUTHOR(S)
Spogmai Akseer; Ximena Jativa

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: October 2021

Prior to COVID-19 lockdowns, the Federal Republic of Nigeria had taken measures to improve the quality of education and of teachers’ working conditions such as by improving school infrastructure and accelerating teacher training programs, and providing incentive schemes for teachers. While education is free and compulsory, Nigeria reports the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of school closures, and the shift towards remote learning are anticipated to pose further constraints and push even more vulnerable children out of the education system. Teacher absenteeism and the poor use of instructional time are also significant problems for the Nigerian education system, negatively affect students’ academic performance and learning. This Time to Teach study seeks to support both federal and state governments by providing a comprehensive understanding of teacher attendance in the country’s primary schools. It also aims to provide insights into how attendance challenges may be similar or different across the types of schools (public/Quranic/private) and settings (urban/rural) and more importantly, how these can inform teacher policy design and implementation. Though data were collected prior to COVID-19 school closures, this study also aims to provide insights on how the pandemic may further exacerbate existing challenges. 

We just have to sail this sea all together until we find a shore: parents’ accounts of home-educating primary-school children in England during COVID-19

AUTHOR(S)
Claire Lee; Lucy Wenham

Published: August 2021   Journal: Education 3-13
Parents’ everyday realities of enforced home-schooling during COVID-19 may offer important insights into strengths and weakness of education systems. This article presents findings from a qualitative study involving parents of primary-school-age children in England during the first ‘lockdown’. Parents shared common concerns with routine, motivation, resources, support, and children’s wellbeing, and responded creatively to the challenges they faced. This reseqarch argues that focusing narrowly on ‘learning loss’ and getting ‘back on track’ may lead to impoverished educational experiences post-COVID-19, and that a broad, engaging curriculum with social and emotional wellbeing at its core will support children’s thriving in an uncertain future.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID19

The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures around the world, affecting almost 1.6 billion students. The effects of even short disruptions in a child’s schooling on their learning and well-being have been shown to be acute and long lasting. The capacities of education systems to respond to the crisis by delivering remote learning and support to children and families have been diverse yet uneven.

This report reviews the emerging evidence on remote learning throughout the global school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic to help guide decision-makers to build more effective, sustainable, and resilient education systems for current and future crises.

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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.