Most state-funded preschools started the year online, as they are based on school district campuses that have been closed since March. And for tuition-based preschools that are opening for in-person learning, their classes look a lot different – with state guidance limiting class sizes and students’ interaction.
Preschools are finding creative ways to provide socializing opportunities for their students virtually or at a distance, from outdoor classes to live Zoom hangouts. But with many preschools closing and the potential for pandemic and state guidance significantly cutting enrollment of the schools that do remain open, some childcare advocates are concerned about how children will be affected long-term.
Even before the pandemic, nearly half of the Orange County students going to kindergarten were not ready for it, said Tiffany Alva, the director of partnerships and government affairs at First 5 Orange County. “If those children aren’t getting the support they need,” Alva said, “they will be behind.“