As the new school year begins, many early childhood educators are wondering what the year will look like. Christina Weiland, associate professor of education and faculty co-director of the Education Policy Initiative, explained to WXYZ the obstacles might lie ahead for the youngest learners because of COVID-19.
"The pandemic has had really profound effects on young kids and their teachers," Weiland said. "And that's added up to what we see in the data, which is that for kindergarten and first-grade they experienced substantial learning setbacks last year, and that's not to say that you can't bounce back from that – young kids absolutely can. But it's going to take concerted effort."
She also talked about the toll on teachers. "Among early education educators, nationally there's been a spike in mental health concerns and depression that's very concerning, and there's now a teacher shortage in early childhood that's led to some classrooms and centers not being able to reopen and welcome students back this fall," Weiland said.
This week, Weiland also spoke with Forbes Alert on the many factors that make early learning enrollment uncertain for educators. “We know we have a lot of kids who sat out kindergarten last year,” she said. “There are so many pushes and pulls right now. It is a very local and heterogenous story everywhere.”