Excerpts from introduction
Early childhood education (ECE) services have played a crucial role in supporting workers, families and children through the COVID-19 pandemic. Homebased educators supported essential workers through providing education and care for their children during Lockdown 4; and many teacher-led services were open for some children during Lockdown 3. The needs for social distancing, public health and safety measures and restrictions on ECE attendance changed teaching and learning in ECE services and their operation. ECE services needed to find innovative ways to communicate with children and families, offer learning opportunities and support. The purpose of this survey was to gather information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Aotearoa New Zealand ECE sector, based on the experiences and perspectives of ECE service managers in kindergarten associations, homebased services, education and care services and playcentre regions. The findings are intended to support the ECE sector in decision-making, inform government officials and government, and provide information for families and the public. The survey was distributed online on 15 June 2020 through the Early Years Research Centre, Faculty of Education, University of Waikato. It was developed in discussion with sector representatives by Linda Mitchell, who is Professor in Early Childhood Education at the University of Waikato, Clare Wells, formerly CEO of New Zealand Kindergartensand now independent consultant, and Trisha Meagher-Lundberg a researcher and qualified ECE teacher. Edith Hodgen undertook the statistical analysis.