How did disruption to Early Years Education during COVID-19 affect children’s cognitive development and academic progress in 2020-2021?

How did disruption to Early Years Education during COVID-19 affect children’s cognitive development and academic progress in 2020-2021

Dr Catherine Davies (University of Leeds)

Abstract

In this talk I will present the findings of two projects investigating the effects of educational disruption during COVID-19 on young children.

First, the Social Distancing and Development study focuses on children aged 0-3 years at the start of the pandemic, living in diverse backgrounds. During the pandemic and its associated lockdowns, access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) was disrupted. We investigated how this period affected the developmental advantages typically offered by ECEC. Using parent-report data from 189 families living in the UK, we explore associations between time spent in ECEC, their socioeconomic background, and their growth in language and executive functions. Our findings highlight the importance of high-quality ECEC for the development of key skills and for levelling socioeconomic inequalities.

Second, the Impact of COVID-19 on Key Learning and Education (ICKLE) study focuses on children starting reception at the beginning of the pandemic. Working with caregivers and children from ten primary schools in Leeds, we collected data about learning circumstances during Spring 2020 and Winter (Jan-Mar) 2021. Using a) materials provided by schools, b) families’ experiences of homeschooling, and c) pupils’ progress in Early Years Foundation Stage Goals, we investigated the factors that affected pupil progress. In this talk, I will focus on families’ experiences of home learning (including resources, routines, expectations, and home/school communication) and their relationship to children’s academic progress.

Speaker bio: Dr Catherine Davies is Associate Professor in Language Development. See her bio here.

Registration is required (and free) via this form. Please register by midnight the night before the talk. You will receive a Zoom link to the talk about an hour before the event begins.