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Children’s experiences of learning at home through COVID-19

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Project contact person(s): 

This project is co-led by Sue McDowall from NZCER and Prof Roseanna Bourke and Prof John O’Niell from Massey University.

The project explores children’s views of their informal learning during the five-week lockdown (school closures) of Alert Level 4, Aotearoa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Over 200 children in Years 4 - 8 (8 - 12 year olds) will be recruited from ten to twelve schools in the Wellington and Manawatu regions.

Within groups of their peers, these children will be invited to take part in a warm-up collage activity about their learning at home. They will then talk individually with researchers in a semi-structured interview at either their school or home. This will allow students to include siblings and/or adult family members in the interview.

A Children’s Research Advisor Group (CRAG) will be established to advise the researchers on:

  • The interview questions
  • Interpretation of the data
  • Dissemination of the findings to children.

The research questions are:

  • What did Year 4 - 8 children learn, and learn about themselves as a learner, during the lockdown, with their family/ whanau?
  • How do the children think they could use this learning back in the school context, and through their everyday learning?
  • How has their view of themselves as a learner changed?

Findings from the research will be published in different formats for different audiences including children, parents, teachers, principals, researchers, and policy makers.