An Overnight Educational Transformation: How did the Pandemic Turn Early Childhood Education Upside Down?

Sinem Aslan, Qi Li, Curtis J. Bonk, Lama Nachman


Since the spring of 2020, many early childhood education programs (pre-K, K, 1st, and 2nd grades) had to close as governments around the world took serious measures to slow down the transmission of COVID-19. As a result, the pandemic forced many early childhood teachers to start teaching online and continue supporting their students remotely. Unfortunately, there were few lessons that these teachers could learn from experience to cope with this change since online learning in early childhood settings had been scarce until the outbreak of the pandemic. In response, the goal of this interview study was to investigate how early childhood teachers in public and private schools implemented online learning during the pandemic, the challenges they encountered when teaching online, and their suggestions to address these challenges. The results showed that the teachers did not sit still and patiently wait for the re-opening of the schools. Instead, they took assorted initiatives to support their students’ learning and development remotely. They faced several challenges on the way but also suggested various methods to address these challenges through developmentally appropriate technology use. The results of this study have implications for teachers when early childhood programs return to normal. The study creates opportunities for future research to gain greater understanding of the design and implementation of online learning activities with young learners.


Early childhood education, technology integration, online learning, COVID-19 pandemic, distance education

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