ECV2020-163

The impact of Covid-19 on an early childhood education setting

Sene Gide, Boundary Lane Children’s Centre, University of Sydney, Australia (sene.gide@sydney.edu.au) & Macquarie University, Australia (sene.gide@hdr.mq.edu.au)
Sandie Wong, Macquarie University, Australia (sandie.wong@mq.edu.au)
Selma Unal, Boundary Lane Children’s Centre, University of Sydney, Australia (selma.unal@sydney.edu.au)
Felicity Buckland, Boundary Lane Children’s Centre, University of Sydney, Australia (felicity.buckland@sydney.edu.au)
Zhiyue Zhang, Boundary Lane Children’s Centre, University of Sydney, Australia (zhiyue.zhang@sydney.edu.au)

Background: COVID-19 came unexpectedly and impacted the world on various levels. The Australian government considered Early Childhood Education (ECE) settings as essential services and kept them in operation while all of the primary schools, high schools and universities were shut down. As educators we had many mixed feelings regarding this. At first, we felt that the government was not caring for/valuing us. If primary school children/teachers were not safe and the government was shutting down schools to protect them, then why were ECEs to remain open? On the other hand, we were grateful and eager to help the community/society by providing these essential services.  

Aim: To share our personal experiences of how we have been coping with COVID-19 so far.

Method: Case study – autoethnography. Personal experiences of the centre director and three team leaders in a long day care centre utilised as a research method for this project.  

Conclusions: While early childhood services and educators have always had a vital role in the care and education of young children, their importance has become even clearer in the post-COVID-19 society that relies heavily on the consistent provision of quality education and care to children while families are dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 in their personal and professional life.

Implications for children: COVID-19 has changed the way that we do everything; however, all of these new changes are to protect you and your family.

Implications for families: The new strategies we are implementing are for the benefit of all children, educators, families, and society as a whole.

Implications for practitioners: COVID-19 affected the ECE workforce in many ways, as it put a lot of pressure on you as educators. However, as professionals we are accountable for providing a safe and healthy environment for our community.   

Key words: professionals’ voices, wellbeing, health, policy, government, COVID-19

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

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