Section 1: Education

Elementary School Students During COVID-19: A Story and Activity Book for Care and Resilience

by Samantha Sarafin

Keywords: elementary education, education, COVID-19, coronavirus, home learning, hybrid learning, children, social wellbeing, children’s story, activity book, school closures

The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, many direct and indirect impacts on the education and wellbeing of elementary school aged children. In the article, “How Covid-19 is changing the world’s children,” it is stated that children will potentially face long-term attainment gaps in their education, intellectual ability, and development, and pre-existing inequalities between students will only expand further as a result of the pandemic and school closures (Robson 2020). Children are also facing losses of social connections that are important for their development, and many are experiencing new and increasing obstacles in mental health (World Bank 2020). Additionally, both parents and children have been forced to adapt their lives to home learning, as well as the loss of teachers in their roles of physical primary caregivers in the lives of the children (Bhan et al. 2020, Bhamani et al. 2020). Overall, as elementary-aged children adapt to school closures or restricted school experiences, they possess a variety of different understandings about the public health crisis simultaneously occurring. These children are potentially facing negative impacts that are life-long because of issues of social connections, educational gaps, mental health, physical health as a result of infection, and trauma. However, elementary school students have also displayed great resilience amidst global stress, and have, with the help of their families and schools, actively improved their educational and social conditions. Many elementary school students understand how the small actions they take, such as wearing a mask and keeping a social distance from their friends, are truly acts of care, because these small actions can protect others.This section of the micro-syllabus provides sources related to how COVID-19 has impacted elementary school aged children, as well as how literature and workbook activities can be used as helpful resources and acts of care for children who are learning remotely or are otherwise impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The main artifact of this portion of the micro-syllabus is a children’s story and activity book, titled Care During COVID-19. The ultimate goal of this written and illustrated workbook is to reinforce the great resilience that elementary school children are already displaying, as well as teach children about the agency they have in caring for others and making a difference on the larger level of the pandemic. Informed by the sources in this micro-syllabus, this workbook has the potential to not only provide supplemental, educational activities for children, but also to teach a culture of care among these resilient elementary school students.

Interview Audio


Resources

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Bhamani, Shelina, Zainab Makhdoom Areeba, Vardah Bharuchi, Nasreen Ali, Sidra Kaleem, and Ahmed Dawood. “Home Learning in Times of COVID: Experiences of Parents.” Journal of Education and Educational Development 7, no. 1 (2020): 9-26.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall.” Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Community, Work, & School. Last updated July 23, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/reopening-schools.html

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Lamme, Linda Leonard., Suzanne. Krogh, and Kathy A. Yachmetz. Literature-based Moral Education : Children’s Books & Activities for Teaching Values, Responsibility, & Good Judgment in the Elementary School. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1992.

Robson, David. “How Covid-19 is changing the world’s children.” BBC Future, 2020-06-03.

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Strouse, Gabrielle A, Nyhout, Angela, and Ganea, Patricia A. “The Role of Book Features in Young Children’s Transfer of Information from Picture Books to Real-World Contexts.” Frontiers in Psychology 9 (2018): 50.

UNICEF. “COVID-19 and children: UNICEF data hub.” Last modified October 2020. https://data.unicef.org/covid-19-and-children/ 

Wyse, Adam E, Stickney, Eric M, Butz, David, Beckler, Amanda, and Close, Catherine N. “The Potential Impact of COVID‐19 on Student Learning and How Schools Can Respond.” Educational Measurement, Issues and Practice 39, no. 3 (2020): 60-64.

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