Preschool children and the pandemic: Teachers’ views and parents’ experiences

Anna Elísa Hreiðarsdóttir, University of Akureyri, Iceland (

Background: Shortly after the first wave of COVID-19 hit Iceland, the government announced a ban on social gatherings, but preschools were kept open with a limitation on the number of people in classrooms and strict rules of conduct. Preschool became about distance, sterilising, hand-washing and limited school attendance. Some parents decided to home school their children although most children attended school.

Aim: To find out how teachers planned and organised  their days with the children, both those who attended school and those that stayed at home as well as parents’ experiences of home schooling their pre-schoolers.

Method: An online survey to teachers during the pandemic as well as repeated interviews with families during the lockdown.

Results: Teachers used different methods to plan the education and the attendance of children and didn’t experience change in children´s play or wellbeing. Parents said that the children missed their friends and those children who didn’t attend school missed their teachers. The children adjusted well to the new situation but the families experienced a new normal.  

Conclusions: The pandemic had a drastic effect on preschools and families during lockdown, but both the teachers and parents concluded that the effect on children was minimum.

Implications for children: Your parents and your teachers did their best to shield you from the pandemic.

Implications for families: The pandemic was a difficult time for families but you and your children’s teachers put children’s wellbeing first.

Implications for practitioners: You had to face many challenges during the pandemic and you used different methods to plan from day to day.

Key words: COVID-19, Preschool children, teachers, families, pandemic

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: