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

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

The project explored 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.


178 children in Years 4 - 8 (8 - 12 year olds) were recruited from ten schools in the Wellington and Manawatū regions.

Children took part in an art-marking activity and individual interviews in Terms 3 and 4 (2020) around their learning while in COVID-19 lockdown. A Children’s Research Advisory Group (CRAG) was established and they advised us on the interview questions and the interview process. 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 identified 7 themes around children’s learning, and have been published in print form (url included) and digital narratives. We hope children, parents, teachers, principals, researchers, and policy makers will enjoy, and learn from the voices of these young people and their learning experiences while at home.

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

Year published Title Publication type
2021 Learning during lockdown Research report