Young Children’s Concepts of Good and Evil before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Qualitative Research Study
TL;DR: In this article, a study was conducted to determine changes in 6-8-year-old children's concepts of good and evil, indicating some shifts in their religious and spiritual development due to closing schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine changes in 6–8-year-old children’s concepts of good and evil, indicating some shifts in their religious and spiritual development due to closing schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Slovakia, religious education (RE) was one of the most neglected school subjects during the pandemic. Almost 300 children were asked to project their associations with good and evil either visually or verbally. This procedure was used several times before 2017 and after the first and second pandemic waves. The content of the children’s associations from all three periods was analyzed, categorized, quantitatively summarized, and compared. The numbers of children’s associations of good and evil with supernatural beings, religious rituals, and personal faith during the pandemic were reduced several times in comparison with 2017. The numbers of associations of good and evil with interpersonal relationships, inner human qualities and nature increased. The virus appeared as a concept of evil only in the second wave of the pandemic. The results point to a weakened intensity of children’s use of religious language and their religious development in the period 2020–2021, which might be one of the consequences of the limited teaching of RE during the pandemic.
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