Early Edge California hosted two webinars with its Advisory Group members last week in order to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Early Learning field.
Early Edge California consultant Patti Herrera provided an overview of the State response to coronavirus, including the State’s commitment to provide full reimbursement to all state-subsidized childcare providers, even if they are closed or have had the number of children they care for reduced.
Following the presentation, attendees shared their concerns and reactions to the pandemic and shelter-in-place order. The most common themes in the discussion were:
- Teachers are struggling with adapting “distance learning” to young children and need greater guidance in how they should support their students and families during the school and childcare closures.
- Teachers who are teleworking report having to work long hours in order to communicate with children and families individually.
- Teachers report high levels of stress for both themselves and the families they serve. Both groups discussed increasing rates of food insecurity in their communities and some teachers reported the stress of not having adequate cleaning supplies or other essential items to maintain safety during the epidemic.
- Teachers are worried that the needs of children with special needs are not being met and that children who do not have access to internet connection or devices may be left behind, widening inequality.
Attendees also shared their strategies for communicating with their students and families. They gave recommendations for websites and apps they are using including Happy Numbers and the Remind app. They also discussed different activities that parents can do with children while they are social distancing.
Early Edge California would like to thank all of the attendees for the work they are doing to support California’s youngest children! The information that was provided will be used to inform our advocacy and activities in the coming weeks.