The long-running pandemic has disrupted every facet of education. But the early childhood sector has been particularly devastated. Over the past 16 months, young children have experienced learning setbacks and fewer social experiences, while their educators have endured degraded working conditions, stress from job uncertainty, and mental health declines.
Much has been reported, written, observed, and said about these impacts—particularly by researchers. But to families, educators, and early childhood leaders, that information can be convoluted, complex, and overwhelming. In a crisis situation that has been fluid and demanding, costly and time-consuming, few of those who stand to benefit most from the studies and surveys conducted on the impact of the pandemic on the child care sector actually have the capacity to scour them, search for solutions and reflect on the readings.
In that spirit, a team of early childhood experts at the University of Michigan and the Urban Institute decided to do the sifting and sorting for others in their field. They synthesized the findings from 76 high-quality studies of the early care and education sector during the pandemic, including those conducted at the national, state, and local levels.
What they learned largely reinforce the narratives that are already circulating about early childhood education during the pandemic: It’s clear that young children have suffered, perhaps with long-lasting effects, and that those who work with them find themselves facing unprecedented mental health and financial hardships. Yet to aggregate these findings and make sense of them, all in one place, provides a service to not only early childhood educators and families of young learners, but to policymakers, leaders, and other people in positions of power, the authors argue.
Read the full article about COVID-19 and early childhood education by Emily Tate at EdSurge.
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