Early Childhood Education and the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 27, 2020

Early childhood education is a vital part of our society. This current pandemic, COVID-19, has increased the awareness and demonstrated the importance of the early childhood education profession and the vital role it plays in society now more than ever. Right now, we are seeing some of the greatest economic challenges ever to the profession we all respect and honor.

The Bipartisan Policy Center in a national survey found that:

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Across all provider types, 60% of programs are fully closed and not providing care to any children at the moment.

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43% of those working remotely said they currently need child care.

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Around half of parents (46%) are concerned that their current or previous provider would no longer be open and 37% are concerned that their child will have a different teacher.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children survey in March found the following in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

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30% of providers in the U.S. said they would not survive a closure of more than two weeks without significant public investment and support that would allow them to compensate and retain staff, pay rent or mortgages, and cover other fixed costs.

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63% said they could survive closure for no more than a month without government help.

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33% of respondents work in center-based child care, and another 53% work in family child care homes.

These are devastating statistics, especially as we fully recognize the surveys all occurred some time ago. Undoubtedly, the situation is now more severe.

We join with our allies in the early childhood education field to request that Congress authorize up to $50 billion in emergency stimulus funding to stabilize the sector and support the workforce after this crisis.

Throughout the health crisis, the early childhood field has shown its strength and value. The Wall Street Journal provides just one of thousands of examples: “[The owner] kept centers open for his few remaining customers: doctors, nurses and police officers who must work and might have nowhere else to send their children.”

The Council for Professional Recognition remains here for the entire field with online resources and other tools to help us through this pandemic. Most of all, our hearts go out to the entire early childhood education community as we look forward to safer and healthier days.

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