Looking to the Future: Support for the ECD Sector

Photo credit: pexel.com

In last week’s article we explored some considerations for looking to the future as we plan for the reopening of schools. Today’s article continues this exploration.

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for our children, teachers and parents, the education sector, including the early childhood sector, has had to weather the storm through learning and adapting to this new way of life. We hope to use the lessons learnt from the pandemic to plan for our children’s future and to build back a better ECD sector. As we look forward to the future, here are two considerations for building back better ECD for our children.

Support Children’s Mental Health

COVID-19 has had multiple impacts on children and families which have resulted in the deterioration of psychological health and mental wellbeing. There is enough research to document the psychological impact of COVID-19 on young children which should be a major consideration as policy-makers plan for the reopening of ECIs. Research has shown that children 3 to 6 years old were more likely to manifest symptoms such as clinginess and fear of family members being infected with COVID-19 than older children 6-18 years old[1]. Additionally, parents reported that COVID-19 affected their children in ways that made them feel uncertain, fearful and isolated. They also reported that their children experienced disturbed sleep, nightmares, poor appetite, inattention and separation anxiety[2]. Looking to the future, the ECD sector will need to consider the impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health, train and support teachers to tackle these issues that will be manifested in the classrooms in the upcoming school year and mobilize resources that will be needed to support this effort.

Improve Teacher Psychological Support

Another impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an increase in mental health challenges for teachers. Research in the USA found that 84% of teachers noted that teaching was more stressful in the pandemic, and teachers were more likely to report feeling stressed and burned out[3] when compared to other government workers. Additionally, 80% of teachers reported feeling anxious, worried, exhausted, or depressed since the start of the COVID-19 crisis[4]. The data is clear, like our children, the psychological impact of COVID-19 has been severe for teachers. As the ECD sector looks to the future and prepares for reopening, psychological support for teachers will be critical to successfully creating nurturing and caring environments for children to thrive post-COVID-19.

COVID-19 continues to be challenging in many aspects but we continue  to adapt and learn from what has become a new way of life. It is by utilizing the knowledge, tools and resources to our advantage that we will be able to build back a better ECD sector for our children in a post-pandemic world.


[1] Singh, S., Roy, D., Sinha, K., Parveen, S., Sharma, G., & Joshi, G. (2020, August). Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Research, 293.

[2] Singh, S., Roy, D., Sinha, K., Parveen, S., Sharma, G., & Joshi, G. (2020, August). Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Research, 293.

[3] https://www.edweek.org/leadership/teachers-mental-health-has-suffered-in-the-pandemic-heres-how-districts-can-help/2021/05

[4] Dana Thomas (2020). Happy Teacher Revolution Presentation, May 28, 2020.


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