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EDUCATE – Impact of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic on the Development of Academic Skills

EDUCATE investigates the effects of the changed care and school situation on the development of school-relevant domaingeneral (e.g. executive functions, self-regulation) and domain-specific (e.g. numerical and written language) skills and their implications for the further development of school performance, using an innovative combination of cohort and longitudinal design.

In preschool and first grade, children are confronted with a number of developmental tasks (e.g., transition from playful to formal learning environments, development of phonological awareness, learning about numbers and their proportions). Coping with these tasks is particularly important for the acquisition of domain-general (e.g. executive functions, self-regulation) and domain-specific (e.g. numerical and written language) skills, as these significantly predict further school development and success.

However, due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, kindergartens and schools were closed for much of the 2020/2021 kindergarten and school year. The effects of this changed care and schooling situation on the development of school-relevant domain-general and domain-specific skills and their implications for the further development of school performance are, however, largely unknown to date and will be investigated accordingly within the framework of EDUCATE.

To this end, the project envisages an innovative combination of cohort and longitudinal design, including children who were a) in the penultimate year of kindergarten, b) in the final year of kindergarten (preschool), or c) in first grade in the kindergarten and school year 2020/2021. Cohort comparisons make it possible to estimate the effects of kindergarten and school closures on the development of above-mentioned domain-general and domain-specific skills at different stages of development. The longitudinal design also allows answers to the question of whether and how any developmental gaps that may have arisen can be made up in the following primary school years. EDUCATE thus also creates the scientific basis for targeted support measures for disadvantaged children and for educational concepts for future crisis situations.

Project Heads

Dr. Friederike Blume

Prof. Dr. Korbinian Moeller

Duration

07/2021–06/2022