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More support needed for preschool parents

Experts appear to agree that one thing pandemic has made clear is that families with young children need more support than they’re getting.

For early childhood education, coronavirus stepped on the gas pedal, accelerating trends that were already happening, and according to a new report by EdSurge, both in good and bad ways.

Market uncertainty during the early days of the pandemic had temporarily halted growth in the early childhood education sector, which had been expanding steadily in the previous decade.

But 2021 saw a big increase in spending, estimated at more than half a billion dollars by last August (and closer to $1 billion dollars now).

“COVID dragged us five years into the future,” Matt Glickman, CEO of Promise Venture Studios, a nonprofit that supports early childhood education and child-care enterprises, explained in comments to EdSurge.

In the last year or so, there’s been an increase in the amount of private capital going towards specialized and innovative solutions in the sector, which has investors hopeful that those new investments will improve access to early education services, especially in the absence of aid to the sector.

So the appetite for change is there. The challenge, Glickman says, is to build on that momentum.

Widespread closures early in the pandemic and labor shortages have emphasized how connected early childhood is to everything else, suggests Chian Gong, a partner at Reach Capital.

Since then, the country’s employers have shifted to more hybrid work and m