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He Whakaaro: How participation in early learning is affected by COVID-19

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Webber, Andrew
Publication Date: 
14 Dec 2020

Excerpted from summary

Publication Details

This He Whakaaro is part of a series, exploring impacts of COVID-19 on the education system. This report uses emerging data collected during 2020 to explore children’s patterns of participation in early childhood education (ECE), and how it is being affected by outbreaks, associated lockdowns, and recovery.

Key Findings

  • We estimate a total of 35.5 million hours of formal ECE has been lost due to COVID-19. This works out to be about 177 hours for the average child in Auckland, and 108 hours for the average child outside of Auckland.
  • ECE participation fell sharply during lockdown, and has been slightly down during periods of Level 2, but appears to have returned to normal levels for most children over Level 1.
  • There are slightly fewer children in formal ECE this year, but this is more from fewer new children entering than children leaving the sector.
  • In non-Auckland regions, younger children were slower to return to ECE than three- and four-year olds after the national lockdown, but participation now appears to be back to normal levels.
  • In Auckland regions, recovery has been slower after both lockdowns.
  • There are indications that participation has been negatively impacted more for more disadvantaged services, and for Pacific and Māori children.
  • Barriers to participation appear to be highest for Pacific children and children at low EQI services in Auckland.