What educators have learned from the pandemic blog header

What educators have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic

In a recent webinar, we welcomed Valora Washington, Ph.D., CAE, CEO & President of the CAYL Institute. Valora talked about Generation Alpha, the group of children born between 2010- 2025 that will live and interact with many more generation cohorts than generations of the past. She got into ways they will be raised in smaller, constantly evolving families, and as learners, they are digital natives, tech-savvy, globally-connected, and diverse.

Make sure to watch the webinar that inspired this blog post here!

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic created very challenging times for all of us who work with young children and their families. The rules of the game have changed – in all our work, in every place, and in every setting. There were new rules, new guidelines, fewer children and families being served face to face, and an increased cost to deliver services.

It is very fair to say that most of us have experienced some kind of loss through this time. One of my losses was the sudden inability to meet with people live and in person. This was quite a professional shock for someone like me who thrives on human interaction.

As we look forward to a new normal, I encourage you to take time to notice, acknowledge, and reflect on your own pandemic losses. These reflections are an essential foundation to prepare us to move forward with a sense of optimism and inspiration.

My pandemic reflections lead me to four essential truths: 

First: We are ALL early educators whether you work with infants or third graders, and whether working in a school, a home, or a center. It is only through our unity that we can make progress to support future generations.

Second: Solutions exist to the childcare and early education crisis in our communities. We are not skeptics and cynics because we know that change from how things have been is possible through the knowledge that we have had – and have gained.

Third: Barriers are real but we must be willing to move beyond those barriers and to resolve them. Persistent issues of funding disparities and salary inequities are gaps that can be filled. 

Fourth: Our children deserve better! Children deserve high-quality early care and education no matter what setting their families have chosen for them. We are professionals committed to standing up for the next generations.

These four reflections led me to consider the post-pandemic future that we must create together. My vision leads to a nation in which there are three core principles for change.

Three core principles for change

Principle #1: Honor and respect the early childhood educator.

The nation has helped our society realize that we are essential professionals. THANK YOU for everything you have done during this challenging era. You are highly valued and appreciated. You deserve accolades and respect.

Principle #2: Our unifying focus is children.

Putting child development at the center of our vision is a source of pride and strength. We realize that childhood has changed – this transformative Alpha Generation is tech-savvy, diverse, and globally connected. Therefore, their needs and preparation require new considerations among us.

Principle #3: Early educators must play leading roles as architects of change.

Our voices matter and must be heard. As we move from a moment in the pandemic to a movement for stronger early childhood education, we must continue to rise to the occasion. Change like this requires us to have courage, commitment, and compassion.

So as the pandemic era changes course, we reflect on our experiences and consider vital principles of change. As ever, we are a profession with hope for the future.

Make sure to watch the webinar that inspired this blog post here!

To learn more about the origin of early childhood education and the many influences that make the field what it is today, check out our post about the history of early childhood education

Want to learn more about important topics in early education like loose parts play? Sign up for the next webinar below, it is FREE! Even if you can’t join live, you will be emailed the recording and slides just for registering!

Valora Washington

Dr. Valora Washington is a recognized authority in early care and education with over 30 years of experience. As the CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition, Dr. Washington leads the largest credentialing program for early educators in the USA, the Child Development Associate®(CDA) Credential. Dr. Washington has authored numerous publications including: Ready or Not—Early Care and Education’s Leadership Choices 12 Years Later, coauthored with Stacie G. Goffin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *