Early Start looks for support from ECEC community and families for latest research

by Freya Lucas

April 29, 2020

Researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW), working as part of the Early Start initiative are seeking the support of educators in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, as well as parents of young children who are practising social isolation during the current pandemic, to investigate the real-life challenges that have a transformational impact on the lives of children.

 

Early Start Research is a research strength of UOW, and is a part of the Early Start initiative. Partnering with Cancer Council NSW, The Movember Foundation, Pearson Education Group and Big Fat Smile, the initiative aims to conduct research into overcoming disadvantage and to effect real social change through Australia’s first children’s museum the Early Start Discovery Space and its 38 connected Early Start Engagement Centres across New South Wales.

 

Consisting of a multidisciplinary team of 26 members, and more than 110 higher-degree research students from fields of study such as education, psychology and health sciences, the team aims to impact the lives of children, youth and families through their research.

 

Currently, the research team are seeking support for three projects, two of which are aimed at families who are navigating “the new normal” of life during the pandemic, and one at educators in the ECEC sector, seeking their thoughts on how children’s language learning may be affected by the increased reliance on digital technologies during the pandemic. 

 

Project One: Ready, Steady, Go: Parenting during Coronavirus

For this project, researchers would like to speak to parents and caregivers of children from birth to five years of age. 

 

For the past 12 months, the Wollongong Infant Learning Lab (WILL), a research team based at Early Start, have been seeing families as part of their research on infant motor development, learning and memory. 

 

The team is currently conducting an online study to investigate the changes that are happening in the lives of young children and their families as they respond to COVID-19. 

 

A key outcome of the study is for researchers to develop an understanding of the positive and negative experiences that happen for young children and their families during this “unprecedented international event”.

 

Participants in the study are asked to complete a questionnaire, which will take approximately 15 minutes, and will be followed up by a second questionnaire approximately one month later. 

 

The survey can be accessed here

 

Project Two: Digital Technology and Young Children 

The second survey seeks input from parents and carers of children aged between three and five years, and seeks to learn more about how young children use digital technology in the home. 

 

Taking approximately 20 minutes to complete, the survey will seek to learn more about the types of digital technologies available to children, and how these are used in a home environment. Questions also explore how families interact during digital experiences.  

 

The second survey is found here

 

Project Three: Digital Technology and Young Children (Educators) 

For the third project, researchers are seeking to learn more about social interactions, children’s language learning, and how each may be enhanced, or compromised, during digital experiences. 

 

Researchers invite educators to share their experiences and feelings about children and technology to help them to identify the specific characteristics for quality adult-child interactions during digital experiences. 

 

The educator survey may be accessed here

 

For more information on the work of Early Start, please see here

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