Irene Mammarella

School in times of Covid-19: the role of stress and family resilience in primary school children’s learning

Required budget: 25.000 euro

The time children spend at school is essential not only for learning opportunities, but also for socialization. The school-family partnership allows to develop a shared project, encouraging and promoting a continuous constructive communication between the parties involved.

The health emergency due to the Covid-19 epidemic has caused a profound change in this partnership, which now needs to be rethought to allow families and young children to adapt. The introduction of distance learning (DL) has had a strong impact on the relationship between teachers, students and parents, resulting in many changes in the entire family. However, it remains to be clarified whether and to what extent parental stress and the resources that families bring to bear to deal with this situation have affected children’s learning at school, especially among those at the beginning of their school life. This study aims to investigate the medium-term effects of school closure, DL and family status on children’s academic learning.

The study will involve more than 200 parents with at least one child attending first or second-grade in primary schools in Padua and surroundings. They will be administered a set of questionnaires investigating some characteristics of the family context (stress and parental self-efficacy) and the ways in which families have managed their offspring’s remote school activities (e.g. use of technology, structuring the environment, homework support). In addition, children’s levels of language skills and learning will be evaluated.

The results of this study will provide important information on the effects of DL after school opening by increasing our knowledge of how to implement this teaching method (in case schools close again), but also how to structure learning and peer relationships to compensate for any shortcomings experienced during the lockdown.