The Impact of COVID-19 on Young Children, Families, and Teachers

On June 22, 2020, Defending the Early Years released a survey to better understand the impact COVID-19 has had on young children, their families, and their teachers. Schools, centers, and childcare providers were forced to close their doors as the world implemented social distancing measures to slow the spread of the new deadly virus. Except for those deemed essential, most programs had to shift to some form of online learning/remote schooling. The resulting global pandemic impacted every facet of our daily life–altering our reality in many ways. Five months later, COVID-19 continues to spread as schools, centers, and childcare providers wrestle with the need to reopen and resume educating America’s children while also wanting to keep everyone safe.


We wrote this survey so we could hear from parents and teachers of young children, a population often overlooked when discussing education. The survey contained 39 questions in three sections: demographics, parents, and teachers. Utilizing a mix of open-ended, multiple-choice, and Likert scale questions, we asked respondents about their experience with online learning/remote schooling, including participation, expectations, ease of adjustment, benefits, challenges, and concerns. From June 22 to August 17, 2020, we received 559 responses. We shared a web-based link to our survey in our newsletter, on our website, and on our social media sites.


This report documents our findings based on an analysis of the responses collected. We begin by sharing the demographic data. Then we provide an overview of the online learning/remote schooling participation, expectations, and reports of adjustment. Next, we share the benefits, challenges, and concerns of both parents and teachers. Finally, we offer some suggestions for parents and teachers based on our understanding of the data. We recognize that our survey did not reach many families; thus, we do not claim to have a generalizable sample. However, we feel as though many of the responses we received are representative of what many people experienced when schools were closed. We hope that by amplifying the voices of parents and teachers of young children, we can continue to protect and invest in childhood.

Book cover titled "the impact of covid-19 on young children, families, and teachers" by denisha jones, featuring an image of a young child on a swing.