Summer Heller

Date of Award


First Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Second Advisor

Asma Abbas


The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a wide array of mental, emotional, and social problems for individuals across the globe. Young children under the age of five may have been among the most profoundly affected, particularly in many aspects of their development including socialization, social cognition, and emotional growth. COVID-19 has created many barriers to traditional modes for social-emotional learning, such as wearing masks, learning and socializing online, toxic levels of stress, increased instances of family isolation and risk of child abuse, and many more. The current pandemic has forced educators to rethink many of the priorities of their institutions. While much of schooling–even in primary schools–has often focused on academic-skills learning, the negative effects of COVID-19 on the social-emotional health of students has served as a wake up call for educators and the role of schooling in social and emotional learning has become even more salient. This thesis explores how the educational transformation that has occured (or may occur) as a result of COVID-19 reflects prior educational adaptations to ‘crises’, and will hopefully, create lasting positive change.

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