A Froebel Trust funded research report explores young children's experiences of and responses to the pandemic.

What are young children’s experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic? What do they understand and how do they feel about the threat of the virus? Have they struggled with the restrictions or enjoyed aspects of lockdowns? How do they express their feelings and who has been listening?

A team of early childhood educators have been documenting the pandemic stories of 43 three and four year old children. They have also recorded the experiences of adults close to the children: parents and early years practitioners.

The research report (published March 2021) looks at how early years practitioners in England, Scotland and New Zealand have used a Froebelian approach to storytelling in their pedagogy to encourage young children to explore their COVID experiences through their play.

Key findings from the project include:

  • The need to slow down, listen more to children, parents and each other.
  • The benefits of action research for the triad of parent, child, practitioner learning together with no preconceived agenda.
  • The shift to more email and phone contact with parents that has strengthened relationships and made them more equitable as all parents get the same offer.
  • The value of posting information and news about the nursery activity on social media. Parents have been very appreciative of staff reading stories that they can then share at home and all the practical activities shared with parents.
  • The real value of home visiting.
  • The value of starting sessions outside and then opening up inside rather than the other way around has had a positive impact on children. Settling children outside has been extremely positive.
  • Having virtual meetings with professionals, such as child protection teams, which has meant far
    less time out of nursery for staff as there is no travel time.
  • The slower pace of life and re-prioritising of what is important which has benefited many.

Read the full action research report from the Covid Young Voices Project.

You can also watch a short film introducing the research findings with Professor Chris Pascal and Professor Tony Bertram (as part of the Froebel Trust Conference 2021).