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COVID Babies and Small Group Sizes

Research about children’s understanding of COVID and lockdowns shows that across settings post-lockdown tamariki are now more likely to gravitate toward small group play that offers an opportunity for rich learning and are eager to maintain connections with tamariki their own age (Pascal & Bertram, 2021).
In a post-lockdown world our ‘COVID babies’ are making up for lost time, relishing in the humour, creativity, and enthusiasm of their peers despite a more isolated start in life! Friendships are blossoming here at Folkestone Street as the tamariki seek connection with their peers and experiment with their understandings of the social world. Through a combination of trial-and-error and observation of the interactions of those around them, tamariki add social skills to their kete and build the lifelong disposition of interacting with aroha. To support this, our kaiako model calm, respectful and considerate communication and focus on being present and responsive to the lead of tamariki.
Our small group size leads to close relationships, as tamariki are regularly interacting with and building upon their relationships with the same small group of peers. This means that each interaction becomes more complex, as tamariki extend upon the thinking, conversations, and play of the previous interaction, constantly building on their awareness of one another. It has been wonderful to observe these strong friendships developing.

Pascal, C. & Bertram, T. (2021). What do young children have to say? Recognising their voices, wisdom, agency and need for companionship during the COVID pandemic. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 29(1), 21-34.