The coronavirus outbreak hit the world in early 2020 and caught all industries off-guard. Since then, schools and pre-schools were forced into long terms of suspension, bringing a completely new challenge to students, parents and teachers and pushing early childhood education to go fully digital.
ECE research blossomed due to this sudden change and provided solutions for effective teaching practices to sustain education as usual during the pandemic. Su et al. performed a systematic bibliometric synthesis of the knowledge generated from this research to guide effective change at the policy and practice levels. Their overview of 507 empirical articles on ECE during COVID-19 between 2020 and March 2022 revealed the following critical observations in early childhood research:
- Online Learning and Teaching in ECE during the pandemic
- Educators faced various challenges regarding their IT competence, lack of training in distance learning, and ability to maintain the quality of early childhood programmes;
- Prolonged online learning can bring risks to children’s development of self-regulation and motivation stability;
- Physical Activity in ECE during the pandemic
- Lockdown and social isolation measures reduced the duration of physical activity for children, increased time spent on entertainment screens and decreased their sleeping quality;
- To maintain children’s health and well-being, promoting active play with children is essential;
- Stress and Mental Health in Early Childhood during the pandemic
- Family background and access to kindergarten or daycare have great impact on the reduction of children’s psychological stress;
- Families in Early Childhood Research during the pandemic
- Active parental involvement in home schooling can reduce children’s negative learning behaviours;
- Parents have made active attempts to provide home education for children, but home environment-related limitations can hinder the possibilities of quality home-schooling;
- Families met various emotional and economic challenges during the pandemic. More service of psychological, financial and digital support should be given to parents from schools and communities, in order to reduce possible suffering of vulnerable children regarding their online learning.
Su, J., Ng, D.T.K., Yang, W., & Li, H. (2022). Global trends in the research on early childhood education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A bibliometric analysis. Education Sciences, 12, 331. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12050331