COVID-19 Learnings research project

To better understand the experiences of the Early Childhood Education sector during COVID-19, the NSW Department of Education undertook the ECE COVID-19 Learnings research project.

This research documents the challenges faced during the pandemic and the strategies that enabled services to continue supporting the learning and development of children while operating in a COVID-19 environment. In September 2020, services were asked to share their experiences with the department via the COVID-19 Learnings survey.

There were 630 services who completed the survey, with 75% of services located in Metropolitan areas. Most respondents were Directors and/or Nominated Supervisors, with 50% working at long day care services, 30% working at preschools or mobile preschools and the remainder family day care or out of school hours care services.

Services told us that during March-June 2020:

  • Their enrolments and attendance decreased, especially in March. Many services were still experiencing low enrolments and attendance in June.

  • They were required to make substantial changes to educational programs and operational processes such as finances, risk management and health and safety.

  • Staff wellbeing was a significant concern, and support networks were crucial during this time.

  • They appreciated the financial support and information updates from the NSW Department of Education, however asked that information sources are streamlined for future communications.

The insights collected here are part of the wider COVID-19 learnings project, which also included focus groups with services and families to support the department in ongoing decision making. Additional findings from this project will be available in mid-2022.

Read the full findings from the COVID-19 learnings survey (PDF, 972 KB)


  • Early childhood education
Return to top of page Back to top