The early learning and care system in California provides one of the state’s most critical services: supporting children’s early learning and development while enabling parents to work. But the COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on this system, and early learning providers need more support. In order to understand the ways in which programs have adapted, the services they provide, and the challenges they face during COVID-19, AIR and Early Edge California collected data from early learning programs throughout the state of California.
The following briefs describe what researchers from AIR and Early Edge California learned.
A System in Jeopardy: California's Early Learning System and its Dual Language Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A System in Jeopardy: California's Early Leaming System and its Dual Language Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic presents findings from a survey of a representative sample of early learning and care programs across the state. The findings reveal major shifts in program operations and sustainability due to COVID-19, with many programs closing or facing reduced enrollment and financial challenges. Results also highlight the ways in which DLLs have been disproportionately left out of care during the pandemic—a significant concern given how much they benefit from early learning experiences. In addition, we describe programs' urgent needs for funding, health and safety resources, and guidance in order to reopen and/or sustain services going forward.
California’s Early Learning and Care Providers: Essential Workers Who Need Support
California’s Early Learning and Care Providers: Essential Workers Who Need Support presents findings from seven focus groups, consisting of 32 Early Learning providers who work in a variety of settings across the state. The study found that while providers are committed, resilient, and doing their best, the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic have been extraordinary, and providers urgently need additional support. Based on conversations with Early Learning and Care providers across the state, the brief recommends actions to maintain and strengthen California’s Early Learning system.
This work was supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation and the American Institutes for Research.