Monthly budget: 52% spend up to 100 lei, 44% spend 100-300 lei.
62% of parents have bought more books in the last two years than before the pandemic, and 80% have preferred books with educational content, according to an online survey conducted by Didactica Publishing House (DPH). 40% believe that digital education programs are necessary and useful in the new context. More than half have a monthly budget of up to 100 lei for children’s books, while two thirds allocate a similar budget for parenting or fiction books, personal development dedicated to adults.
The importance of reading and alternative materials in the didactic approach, along with the parents’ perception of educational readings has been changed by the pandemic context. Thus, 59% of teachers stated that they changed the teaching method in the classroom, and over 38% partially made changes in it, because it was more difficult to keep the attention of students (56%) in the context of online courses, hybrid and even offline. 54% of teachers make recommendations for additional reading weekly, 40% monthly, and their recommendations go both to titles that complete the curriculum (60%), but also to story books (70%), encyclopaedias (31%) or books about feelings and emotions (34%).
Parents, on the other hand, stated that they had purchased mainly titles in the field of education (81%), books and materials containing activities for children (64%), stories (60%) or non-fiction topics, such as encyclopaedias, biographies or science books (42%).
A less discussed effect of the pandemic is how parents, teachers and children have learned to team up in education more than in previous years. Thus, the importance of recommendations has increased, along with the desire to experiment, which is reflected in the diversity of purchases. We see an increase in teachers’ interest in books that present alternative teaching methods and concepts, along with an increase in parents’ interest in titles dedicated to children, but which also contain information for parents, such as sophrology exercises, said Florentina Ion, founder of DPH Publishing House.
Top favorite books and allocated budget
The data also showed that children have their own top of book preferences. Thus, according to the parents who participated in the survey, they prefer stories (80%), encyclopaedia books (49%), personal development books (44%) – or books about of emotions, feelings, but also soft skills, such as collaboration, trust, creativity, etc. – or interactive – with tabs, sounds, atypical format, oversized, inserts and activities (37%).
The budget allocated each month by the parents for the children’s books was up to 100 lei for half of them. 44% stated that they allocate between 101 and 300 lei per month for buying books, and 4% even over 300 lei per month. Also, a significant percentage (76%) stated that they allocate a budget of up to 100 lei per month for parenting books, fiction, personal development dedicated to adults etc., and 21% allocate between 101 and 300 lei for such purchases.
In the last year, I have noticed a diversification of shopping cart and, for a third of the orders, along with children’s books, there is also a title of parenting or personal development, or a title dedicated to adults who deal with creative teaching methods. The interest in an approach to education adapted to the world in which children of this generation grow up is increasing. That’s why we have included in the portfolio titles that deal with more difficult topics, such as bullying, books that include information for parents in addition to children’s stories, books that will be a real help to both children and adults, presenting the information in an accessible manner, regardless of age or professional background, Florentina Ion also specified.
Online schooling effects and digital resources
The current context has led to an accelerated digitalization in education. In a context in which the survey also shows that 60% of teachers have taught more online in the last year, a similar percentage considered it important for parents to work more with children to fix the notions taught. In fact, a third of the parents stated that they were much more connected to the child’s school life than before the pandemic.
In this context, over 40% of parents believe that an educational platform with resources that follow the school curriculum would be helpful in fixing the knowledge taught.
This new generation was born and raised in a digital environment, so their technology skills are far superior to previous generations. We are pleased to see a significant increase in interest in digital education programs launched at the end of 2020, dedicated to pre-school classes, and grades I-III. They present the curriculum in an attractive, current, interactive way, and the access to information is done in a controlled, secure environment. The parent or the teacher can check in real time the child’s evolution, can make evaluations or provide feedback, Florentina Ion also specified.
For this year, the publishing house aims to expand the portfolio of digital resources from the educational programs available on the site to the first grade and aims to complete a complex digital program for this class. The two available programmes together contain over 1,200 materials, games, and activities. The programs are available based on an annual subscription, starting from 78 lei.
*online survey conducted nationwide, during September-November 2021, which was attended by 1,332 parents with children aged 0-13 + years, 18% from urban areas, 82% from urban areas, and 434 teachers, 16% rural, 84% urban.