Childcare and home learning for families of 0-4 year-olds during COVID-19

Ipsos MORI's latest research for the Department for Education gathered evidence on the use, availability and experiences of childcare in April 2020 during COVID-19 for parents of 0-4 year-olds, including critical workers and parents of vulnerable children.

The author(s)

  • Galini Pantelidou Public Affairs
  • Tom Huskinson Public Affairs
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 A new survey by Ipsos MORI found that two-thirds (68%) of parents of 0-4 year-olds that are critical workers felt that the childcare hours available to them during the coronavirus pandemic in April enabled them to do their job. 

The survey found that around a third (36%) of children aged 0-4 with parents that are critical workers, or who are vulnerable, used formal childcare in April during COVID-19. Among the children of critical workers or vulnerable children not using childcare, this was primarily due to parent choices. The key reasons cited were having somebody at home that could care for the child (43%), never using childcare (21%), or being too concerned about their child’s health during COVID-19 to let them use childcare (21%).

Parents of 0-4 year-olds accessed a variety of sources of information during the pandemic about play and learning activities for their children. Parents most commonly found out about activities to do with their child from social media (38%), from friends and relatives (37%), from other parents (28%), from children’s TV programmes (24%), from their child’s usual setting/school (22%) or from the BBC website or iPlayer (21%). Over two-thirds (69%) of families undertook reading-based activities with their child at least once a day.

This research comes as the Government announced the re-opening of education settings for children of some ages, no earlier than 1st June. School-based nurseries and private, voluntary and independent nurseries can re-open for all children aged 0-4 whilst following guidance on social distancing and hygiene measures. The research also helps to understand the Government’s drive to help parents create a positive learning environment at home. The Department for Education’s Hungry Little Minds campaign features tips and practical activities that parents can do at home with children to support their early learning. Between 16th March and 27th  April 2020, the Hungry Little Minds website received over 180,000 new users seeking out tips, activities, apps and resources to support children at home.

Technical note:

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,002 parents of children aged 0-4 in England. Interviews were conducted online between 16th-23rd April 2020. Data are weighted to match the population profile of parents of children aged 0-4 in England by region, social grade, and the age of the selected child (i.e. the randomly selected child aged 0-4 about whom child-level questions were asked).

 

The author(s)

  • Galini Pantelidou Public Affairs
  • Tom Huskinson Public Affairs

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