Amy Wegner

Session 2
Board Number

Jurisdictional Comparison of Equity and Access of Early Childhood Family Educators and Families During COVID-19 and the 2020-2021 School Year

Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE) is a program offered by the Minnesota Department of Education ("Early Childhood Family Education," n.d.). It provides parenting and early childhood education for families with children from birth to age five, although some programs are offered for children through third grade. Emphasis is placed on helping caregivers ECFE classes occur in classroom settings, home visits, and online meetings, with the occasional use of community settings. ECFE program availability differs among school districts, and instructors hold state teaching licenses in early childhood education and/or parenting education. Most studies of parent and child education programs focus on program satisfaction and/or effectiveness for parents, children, and families (Leske et al., 2015; Murphy et al., 2021; Reynolds & Temple, 2019). Few ECFE assessments have targeted differences in program delivery and resource distribution - specifically geographical implications regarding equity and access (e.g., differences in delivery to non-urban, urban moderate, and urban large educators and families). Issues of equity and access to ECFE educators and families in non-urban, urban moderate, and urban large Minnesota districts encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic will be addressed. Spring 2020 data gathered from ECFE instructors across MN indicated concern over learning and using new technology to deliver programming, maintaining relationships with families, and equity and access for families participating in ECFE when classes were delivered online during the COVID-19 pandemic (Otremba et al., 2020). Using one year follow up data collected from ECFE educators throughout Minnesota in the spring of 2021, mixed methods analysis examines how ECFE educators and programs addressed equity and access barriers similarly or differently during the pandemic as a result of their location (i.e., non-urban, urban moderate, and urban large).