On March 12th, 2020, all ECEC providers in Ireland closed due to COVID19, and the responsibility of providing early learning opportunities fell predominantly onto parents. ECEC providers resumed operations from June 29th, 2020 implementing additional changes and measures to limit the risk of infection. This research sought to to explore the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic, and the associated public health guidelines for ECEC settings had on ECEC practice. In particular, the research explored ECEC educator views on changes in practice due to Covid19, with a specific focus on closure and reopening, as well as the changes in daily routines, curriculum, and engagement with parents. It also examined educators' views on children's wellbeing during this time. Adopting a phenomenological methodological approach, ten educators participated in four rounds of semi-structured interviews over an 18 month period. This presentation offers emerging findings from the first two sets of interviews. Preliminary results indicate that key elements of policy, pedagogy and play, and family participation required reconfiguration and innovation. Furthermore, educators continued to strive to nurture and sustain relationships with one another, parents and the children in their settings, as well as their wider community. The pandemic has required acts of innovation, resilience, and even resistance on the part of deeply committed educators.
Conor Mellon, National College of Ireland, Ireland
Anna Barr, National College of Ireland, Ireland