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Reopening Childcare and Early Learning Services: UNICEF Guidelines for East Asia and the Pacific


The COVID-19 pandemic threatens this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for children in early childhood to develop healthy brains, bodies, and lives. While countries in East Asia and the Pacific have made substantial progress in investing in ECD, more than 150 million children younger than 5 years have been affected at the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, services supporting the development and learning of young children will likely suffer more than other education levels as they remain closed or in limited duration for fear of children contracting COVID-19.  

The new report by UNICEF EAPRO, “Reopening Childcare and Early Learning Services: UNICEF Guidelines for East Asia and the Pacific” has been developed based on LACRO’s publication and adapted to suit the East Asia and the Pacific regional needs and context. It is intended for UNICEF country offices in the region to support their role in providing technical assistance to government partners and other organizations. The publication provides guidelines for reopening of services for young children aged 2 years up until the official primary school entry, either 5 of 6 years, and their families while it also includes a checklist to conduct rapid analysis of the services’ conditions and designing plans for a safe reopening.  

 Safe reopening of childcare and early learning services and preparing the response to future emergencies should be prioritized as prolonged closures of childcares, preschools, and early learning services can exacerbate the developmental and learning loss, especially for the most vulnerable children. 

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