In 2020, the Preschool Renewal Grant allowed continued assessment and the search for opportunities in Nebraska's birth to five systems. In March and August 2020, the Buffet Early Child Institute conducted two surveys of childcare providers in Nebraska to assess economic, health, and personal challenges impacting their ability to care for and educate young children during the pandemic. Results from these surveys highlight the acute need for additional support to childcare providers. These findings have been shared with a broad audience across the state, including state legislators considering an Interim study to assess the fiscal and economic impact of the pandemic on Nebraska's early childhood care and education system. A third survey, planned for Spring 2021, will provide further insight on the impact of the ongoing pandemic on Nebraska’s childcare providers.
In collaboration with the Nebraska Preschool Development Grant project leads, the Needs Assessment team collected information to better understand and address the needs and gaps in Nebraska's birth to five systems. Thirteen project leads responded to this inquiry, and a few trends emerged in their responses. They are interested in:
- More in-depth information about families' needs and perspectives, from Black and African American, Hispanic and Latinx, Native American and American Indian, Refugees and immigrants, families of children with disabilities, families experiencing poverty and/or homelessness, and families providing foster care.
- Processes to monitor closures, changes in enrollment, and financial concerns of childcare providers.
- Information to identify strengths and areas for improvement in coaching and professional learning for early childhood professionals.
This feedback will guide the analysis of existing data and plans for new data collection, including a series of in-depth focus groups with families across Nebraska, which will begin in February 2021.
PDG Planning Grant Findings
Organizational Lead: Buffett Early Childhood Institute