Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in ECEC centers: social and psychological impact on children and teachers
Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centers are extremely significant contexts for understanding the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and teachers are privileged interlocutors to detect changes in children’s behavioral manifestations. Starting from these premises, the present study aimed to investigate the social and psychological impact of the pandemic on children and teachers and the strategies implemented to cope with it in the context of ECEC centers. 161 teachers completed an online survey which investigated four main themes: 1) impact of pandemic on children; 2) impact of pandemic on teachers; 3) children’s vulnerabilities and resources; 4) strategies implemented to cope with the impact of pandemic. Qualitative content analysis allowed to identify representative categories for each open-ended question and statistical frequency showed the distribution of the categories within each variable. Results showed changes in behavior, play and conversations between children, let emerge teachers’ concerns, highlighted children’s fragilities and resilience and allowed to identify the main strategies implemented to cope with negative effects observed after lockdown. The study provided an interesting overview of the impact of the pandemic, which allows researchers and professionals to focus on aspects relevant to the design and implementation of interventions with both children and teachers.
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