The Year for Early Learning and Childcare: Covid-19 Insights

by | Dec 21, 2020 | Blog

This article was originally published by Keya Lamba from the Early Insights team. This is an introduction of a four article series in early learning and childcare post-Covid-19.

In late 2020 Innovation Edge shared their COVID-19 learnings with the Early Insights team. Those insights along with input from various policymakers, investors and thought leaders on social care form a key part of this report and the consolidated trends.

In August 2020 as Tarun and I contemplated Early Insights, the community of early childhood practitioners across seven countries we had been convening with our peers, we were struck by two things. One, the two of us shared a mission to serve the community with multiple perspectives that lay at the heart of the field. This covered the need for high-quality adult-child interactions, why early learning is important and what a world with excellent early learning and childcare for all could look like. Two, we were cognizant how the conversation at the edges of the field such as the power of technology, the need for care to power a 9.7 billion person planet and political and capital cycles were shaping it. We decided that this duality needed more explanation and debate.

By growing our community to 90 people across 14 nations, publishing seven articles, hosting two webinars and presenting at Teach for All’s global conference we examined our shared experiences. They highlighted that:

  • While schools can go online, early education struggles to do so. The work of children, play, is cut off, parental routines are rewired and reaching parents is hard.
  • From the scars of stress, to the challenge of socio-emotional learning, the system of early learning and care we have are being buffeted by waves the system is not designed to handle
  • For perhaps the first time parents, teachers and policymakers are feeling the pain simultaneously.

The way the world of early learning and childcare unfolds is a heart and mind issue. We wanted to shed some light on it and engage in a debate with you.

From September to November we spoke to 14 people engaged across the spectrum of early learning and childcare, from policymakers and investors to entrepreneurs and thought leaders on social care. This conversation at the edges highlighted three trends which we dive into in the following article series.

  • Trend One: The science and economics behind early learning is clear but the space needs revised communication to become a priority!

  • Trend Two: Parents have unequal and poor access to information on early learning. This is critical because of the easy scale behind early learning can address ballot box issues such as job creation, gender equality, access to health, and welfare services. All of which are important to parents as citizens and the state as a guardian of them.

  • Trend Three: We need a 21st century understanding of what technology can (and cannot!) do for us — this means co-designing with parents and revamping learning for ages 4+

Our inside out and outside in viewpoints made us see the landscape in a fresh light which we summarise in a series ending summary here. For long form readers this journey is available as a report here.

Share your thoughts by tweeting @earlyinsights.