CREC to lead new research project capturing the COVID-19 experiences of young children


CREC are delighted to announce that, with the kind support of research grant funding from the Froebel Trust , we will be leading a research project to capture and better understand the experiences and perspectives of young children (aged 2-4) living through the COVID-19 pandemic across three countries. 


Working with Guildford Nursery School and Family Centre (England), Birdwood Kindergarten (New Zealand) and Cowgate Under Fives Centre, Greengables Nursery School (Scotland) over the next 6 months, we shall undertake a study entitled “An exploration of how the Froebel Storytelling Approach can support young children through the COVID-19 pandemic”.



Why are we researching this?

As with most areas of society and human life, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed additional challenges to young children growing up in the modern world. The economic and public health consequences of the crisis are threatening to deepen the well documented existing patterns of vulnerability and under-achievement for young children and families, especially those living in poverty and disadvantage. The impact of the additional stress, depression and mental health issues caused by the pandemic crisis is likely to be grave, especially in low income households and for disadvantaged young children and their families (Pascal et al, 2020).

Listening to, and capturing, the experiences and perspectives of all citizens on the pandemic would therefore seem to be congruent with our sense of an inclusive, democratic society which values solidarity and the right to be heard, yet all too often the voices of young children are excluded from consideration as we begin to narrate the pandemic. These young children, who are at a formative stage in their lives and in their growing civic awareness, have equally valid knowledge, views and feelings about the pandemic which they are capable of expressing if given the opportunity. They have powerful and specific narratives about how they have been and are affected firstly, by the lockdown and now, by the gradual opening up of public spaces and places, which deserve serious consideration and which provide important evidence to inform how early years provision should respond.

By conducting this research in conjunction with 5 Froebelian settings who use a Froebelian story telling approach, we also believe it provides a vital opportunity to consider how this philosophy and its associated pedagogic approaches might adapt and respond to children’s particular needs for expression of voice and emotion at this time. This project aims to capture both the COVID narratives of young children and the pedagogic narratives of Froebelian practice in responding to these narratives in three different national and cultural contexts.

What impact will this research have?

Understanding the lessons of this crisis are important as policymakers and practitioners work out how to both prevent and respond to such events in the future. It is also crucial to ensuring the current and future mental health and wellbeing of this generation of young children is not adversely affected by these experiences. We hope therefore that this study, and the dissemination of its findings, can provide a useful insight to support policymakers and practitioners as they look to respond to this emerging, dynamic and grave set of challenges posed by the pandemic.



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