The Front Project Families Survey

The Front Project has asked over 1000 parents and carers of young children about their experiences with early childhood education and care (ECEC) and what has changed during COVID-19. This fact sheet shares some of our findings.

The survey findings highlight the importance of ECEC to support families during the pandemic, providing a sense of stability through both the ongoing education and care for their children, as well as allowing parents and carers to work.  

Key Findings:

  • Almost all families think ECEC is important – 97% say it is important and 81% say it is very important.
  • Parents and carers who are looking for jobs due to COVID-19 value ECEC the most.
  • ECEC impacts everyday spending – from grocery shopping and socialising to decisions about work and where to live.
  • The most valued aspect of ECEC is that it provides education and development for children.

ECEC has been very important for families during COVID-19

The survey findings clearly show that families recognise the valuable role of the ECEC sector to ensure children’s wellbeing and education, and accelerate the country’s economic recovery after COVID-19. For many families, ECEC has provided stability for children during COVID-19 and allowed parents and carers to continue working or work more hours:

“Myself and my wife are not natural teachers and found our children struggle to concentrate on what was asked. A professional influence was needed.”

“Meant my child could continue attending and keep the jobs and centre open so my child could maintain their relationships with educators and routine.”

“My child has missed a lot of the educational and social benefits”

“Had taken child out of care whilst school was on hold. Child now back in care much better for their well-being, social activity, routine and learning in preparation for school. Juggling full time work, at home teaching and care for small child too difficult too provide the quality of care they'd get at daycare.”

It is clear that families greatly value high quality ECEC and have been relying on their centres to support them during COVID-19, and as we move out of the pandemic.

How can we improve ECEC experiences for families?

A focus on key opportunities for reform could ensure the delivery of high-quality ECEC for families, which are also affordable, as we move being to recover from COVID-19.

We recommend that Government update funding of ECEC to:

  • Make ECEC more affordable
  • Prioritise support for vulnerable children
  • Ensure our ECEC sector is sustainable and high-quality

These changes will assist centres to continue providing a stable environment for children as parents return to work; and support the ECEC sector to be responsive and flexible to changing demands after COVID-19.

Overview of key findings on how families are experiencing ECEC: