Institute of Education

Research & Expertise to Make a Difference in Education & Beyond

Centre for Modern Childhood Studies

IOE Centre for Modern Childhood Studies explores current trends, challenges, and priorities in early childhood development and schooling.

Today, child development and parenting patters are rapidly changing, reflecting major transformations in local and global social environments. Current preschooling and school settings are largely uneven and differ significantly by region in terms of accessibility, inclusion and many other aspects. Overall, it is a string of interrelated factors, such as community wellbeing, levels of technology penetration and school performance, family socioeconomic status and parental attitudes to basic and extracurricular learning, among others, that determines a multitude of childhood development paths we are now observing.          

This growing diversity and disjuncture in today’s childrearing and development space, with fast-transforming child perceptions, knowledge, experiences, and needs amid multiple and often divergent drivers outlined above, has prompted new challenges for contemporary childhood studies, which can be best addressed by pursuing a poly-disciplinary, multi-faceted research framework.     

R&D Scope and Projects

Modern Childhood: Socialization Inside and Outside Educational SettingsThe projects implemented as part of this research area primarily explore current developments in social environments where children learn and mature. The aspects of particular interest include netizenship patterns (social networking and other digital communication), shifts in leisure preferences and overall modern adolescence characteristics, etc. A special focus is placed on new learning and development opportunities, including those outside traditional education settings (such as homeschooling, etc.), which emerge in response to the above social factors.  

Modern ParentingThis research area takes insights into conventional and novelty childrearing approaches, major challenges and needs that modern parents face in addressing numerous aspects of child development, as well as global best practice in advancing parental literacy. The Centre’s studies in this domain serve as solid, evidence-based grounds to design and deliver various training courses and workshops that help promote parental awareness, engagement, and the most appropriate upbringing practice.      

Early Childcare & WellbeingThese projects aim to track parents and educators’ conceptions of the most suitable and effective early childcare space, including overall organization & curricular, kindergarten choice criteria, and best early development strategies to enable seamless progression into primary school. A special attention is paid to education-related factors that determine preschoolers’ wellbeing.     

Child Development in Contemporary Urban EnvironmentsNever before have city settings offered as many out-of-school services and extracurriculars as they do today, with numerous children’s clubs and specialized centres pitched to cater for almost every age group and field of activity. At the same time, the present-day landscape of childhood and adolescent out-of-school learning is getting more fragmented and stratified, as parental choices and accessibility of educational extras vary substantially depending on family background and income level, intrinsic social attitudes, established pastime patterns, etc. In this regard, the Centre’s experts have endeavoured to take a comprehensive, pervasive look at the ways various such factors interplay in molding and shaping modern child development space.

Selected Publications


Elizaveta Sivak

Director, email:

Katerina Polivanova

Academic Supervisor, email: