What’s new ?

April to June 2018: Survey of what children learn in their first year of primary school

Following on from Elfe’s nursery school survey in 2016, we are now rolling out a second survey, this time among children in their first year of primary education. Its purpose is to collect information about what 7-year-olds learn. This new stage will allow us to analyse how children approach the different areas of learning taught at primary school, taking account of their living conditions and family structure, as well as their health and development. The success of this groundbreaking research, involving one in four schools in France and approximately 12,000 children, will depend on the cooperation of teachers, as they will be asked to give the children fun exercises that probe their early maths learning and French language skills – as well as their self-esteem. [More information]

April to July 2018: Survey of 10- to 11-year-olds enrolled in the pilot study

Around 300 families, with children now aged 10‑11 years, are taking part in Elfe’s pilot study. Their role is to test the approaches and methods we develop, so that they can then be seamlessly implemented in the national study, which is tracking 18,000 children born in 2011.

This year, we are contacting these pilot families to arrange a telephone survey and a home visit. Meeting the children will give us an opportunity to measure their height and weight, check their respiratory function, and test their cognitive functions via computer games. The children will also be asked questions about their everyday lives and perform exercises to measure their physical fitness and motor abilities. If they ‑ and their parents ‑ agree, the children will undergo biological sampling (blood, urine, hair, saliva) at a laboratory close to their home, so that researchers can study biological markers of their health and measure their exposure to environmental pollutants. [More information]

June to december 2017 - Novel online survey of our Elfe children!

Now that they are nearing or have already reached their sixth birthday, the children are old enough to start telling us about their habits, preferences and perceptions of the world around them. To encourage them to exp ress themselves, our researchers have devised fun computer questionnaires especially for children.
Between June and December, depending on their date of birth, all Elfe children will be given a chance to play three games in different worlds. These games will allow us to collect entirely new data about their activities and everyday lives, their perceptions of what is fair and unfair, and their visions of the world of work. The Elfe team warmly thanks all the children who have already played along!

March 2017 - First scientific meeting

Our research on childhood is making great strides, drawing on information collected from our many participating families. The Elfe study’s first ever scientific meeting was held in Paris on 13 March 2017. Aimed at researchers and institutional partners, this symposium provided an opportunity to present some of the results of research projects based on Elfe cohort data. Topics included mothers, fathers and care of the newborn infant, parents’ childrearing styles, exposure of pregnant women to environmental contaminants, occupational exposure to cosmetics and working in care settings during pregnancy, breastfeeding practices and dietary diversification, and parents’ migratory status and health inequalities at birth. [Find out more]

January 2017 - Our survey at age 5½ years is now underway!

2017 will see a fresh round of phone interviews with families as we continue to chart the progress of the Elfe children, now into their sixth year of life. Our researchers will carry on monitoring their health and development, as well as their environment, but new topics, such as peer relationships and parents childrearing practices, will also be broached in the questionnaire.

April 2016 - Our school study starts at nursery school!

2016 will see another first for Elfe, when a new phase of the study is rolled out in French nursery schools. This phase will mainly involve second-year teachers, who will be asked to give children fun exercises to do where they have to recognize sounds, letters and quantities. These will allow us to collect data about early learning among 4- to 5-year-olds. We will also be able to analyse how children approach different areas of learning at nursery school, looking for links with their living conditions and family structure, as well as with their health and cognitive development. [Find out more]

November 2015 - Another online meeting with families

Once again, our researchers met with Elfe parents over the Internet to directly answer their questions about how the study is progressing. This event also gave the Elfe team an opportunity to introduce families to the next stage of the study. This will be a novel survey involving nursery school teachers to find out how children experience school and what they learn in their second year there.
To watch the webinar again, click here (French-language version).

April 2015 – The Elfe database is now open for business

More than 150 researchers are actively involved in the Elfe study and have been working on data about the children and their families since 2013. Because they had contributed to the study by designing the questionnaires, these researchers were obviously given priority. This year, however, Elfe entered a new phase, offering the entire scientific community access to the study’s very first data, collected in maternity units and when the infants were 2 months old. [Access data]

December 2014 - Webinar with the families

The Elfe team staged a webinar to introduce parents to the next stage of the study (survey at 3½ years) and inform them of Elfe’s initial findings. This event, which was moderated by Mathieu Vidard, presenter of the science programme La Tête au Carré on the French radio station France Inter, gave families an opportunity to ask questions directly to researchers and members of the Elfe team via an online chat. To view the webinar, click here (French-language version).

October 2014 – Survey at 3½ years

The aim of this new survey of children at age 3½ years is to continue collecting information about early childhood. It is timed to coincide with a particularly important stage in young children’s lives: their first year at nursery school. It will be rolled out in two parts, with a telephone questionnaire for one of the parents to answer, and home visits to some of the families – a first for Elfe. During these visits, the children will be asked to produce a simple drawing and play visual and picture-matching games. [Watch the video (French-language version).]

April 2013 – Already 2 years old!

The children in the Elfe study are celebrating their second birthday this year. To mark this milestone, parents will be asked to take part in a fresh telephone interview, mainly concerning their child’s environment, childcare arrangements, nutrition and health. There will also be questions about their child’s games and activities, language development and sleep. To obtain more technical information on growth, vaccinations, hospital visits and psychomotor development, each child’s family doctor will be asked to fill out a questionnaire at the 24-month check-up.

October 2012 – Vox pop about the concerns and expectations that families have for their children

What concerns do families in France have about their children’s health and environment? What gives them a sense of self-fulfilment? What do they expect from the Elfe study that was launched in 2011? A street interview conducted in Paris gives us a glimpse into what the general public thinks about the Elfe study, the challenges it will have to meet and how far it will go towards answering the questions that today’s parents ask themselves.
Watch the video (French-language version)

April 2012 – The first Elfe babies are already 1 year old!

Launched just a year ago, the Elfe study is celebrating its very first birthday, just like the Elfe babies born last spring, between 1 and 4 April 2011. Parents are being asked to respond to a fresh telephone survey, focusing on their infant’s health and development. There are also questions about the parents’ own health, family lifestyle, leisure activities, values and environment.

September 2011- Elfe families share their experiences

Why did they agree to take part in the study? Which areas of research are they particularly interested in and which questions do they hope the study will answer? To read about the experiences so far of the very first Elfe families, click here.

April 2011 – Launch of the Elfe study

It was on Friday 1 April that the long-awaited Elfe study finally got underway. Its first 4-day recruitment period, ending on 4 April, took place in 306 maternity units in metropolitan France. Nearly 900 interviewers went to meet new mothers with the aim of introducing them to Elfe and obtaining their consent to take part. More children will be included in the Elfe study during three further recruitment periods in 2011 (end of June, end of September, and end of November).