Education: Commission publishes report on impact of COVID-19 on early childhood education and care | EU Commission Press

The European Commission has published a report looking into “understanding and managing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the early childhood education and care sector”. This new report identifies the impact of the pandemic on very young children and their families, and on early childhood education and care services and professionals. It brings together information on the challenges faced, and the solutions found, offering recommendations to keep supporting the growth and quality of the early childhood education and care sector, also in difficult times. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Early childhood education and care is the essential first step of the lifelong learning ladder for all children. Experts and professionals around the world, including in Europe, have been raising awareness of the need to better integrate the early childhood education and care sector into all local, national and European management and recovery decisions, during and after the pandemic. I hope this report helps to understand how the early childhood education and care sector was managed during the pandemic, so we can move forward together, and learn from it.” The report shows that early childhood education and care was often reduced to its childcare function to support parents, while its education and inclusive aspects were overlooked. They include for example early language acquisition, social skills and access to subsidised canteens. Guidance and support greatly varied across EU countries. This report emphasises the need to keep investing in the governance and quality of the sector and improve the staff training and working conditions. To learn from this period, the report provides an overview of recommendations regarding the governance and funding of the sector, to the recognition and training of the staff, and the importance of always taking into consideration children’s learning and well-being. The report is available online.