The COVID-19 pandemic impacted early childhood programs serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in dramatic ways. After temporarily closing, many educators quickly adapted their procedures to ensure children’s safety as they reopened to provide childcare for essential workers and then the community at large. This manuscript reports on statewide efforts to continue quality improvement initiatives for early childhood programs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We first describe the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for over 2000 educators—teachers, administrators, and specialists—who completed surveys in the Spring and Fall of 2020. These survey data come from a statewide system called the Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS), designed to track the professional development needs/progress of early childhood educators. Second, we describe an example of how a statewide professional development and quality improvement program shifted to remote delivery during the pandemic. As an increasing number of educators turn to virtual training resources, we explain lessons learned from these response efforts and how they can inform future virtual professional development efforts, even amidst crisis, to ensure that a focus on quality improvement continues while supporting teachers’ individual needs. (author abstract)
“Doing what I can, but I got no magic wand:” A snapshot of early childhood educator experiences and efforts to ensure quality during the COVID-19 pandemic
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