This year when Covid 19 impacted the world, it tested what we were made of. It revealed and amplified all of the weaknesses of the systems in our society. All over our nation, gaps grew and inequities were amplified. Here in Mississippi, our systems which support young children were tested, too. Early in the pandemic, a report completed by the Graduate Center for the Study of Early Learning revealed that in May of 2020, hundreds of childcare centers –the backbone of the our economy– across the state had to close their doors or operate on a limited basis. School district programs and Head Start centers had to go virtual, revealing wide divides across geographies, income levels, and racial status in terms of access to computers, broad band streaming, or even having a helping parent at home. When the pandemic happened, the problems were overwhelming; they still are. However, that has not stopped Mississippi’s early childhood community from rolling up our sleeves and getting the work done for the children who need us most. When we couldn’t meet in person, we zoomed. We delivered lessons, created packets, worked with new partners to get our services to our families. We thought creatively about how to get PPE to essential workers, and came up with innovative ways to ensure that children had safe places to be while families worked. And we even tackled the digital divide.
What you will hear in the video below are real stories of Mississippians. You will hear from some state leaders about the programs put in place to support families and providers during the pandemic, and you will also hear from providers and parents who benefited from those programs. We are proud to help shine a light on the dedication and creativity of so many early childhood advocates and educators during this difficult time.
Thank you for watching! Please share widely so that everyone in our state sees the commitment these organizations, businesses, leaders, policymakers, and educators have to our children!