Children Return to Preschool After Lockdown Due to the COVID-19 Epidemic Mojca Peček and Marcela Batistič Zorec
Summary: The aim of this article is to find out how preschool children felt after returning to preschool after 13- to 15-week- lockdown and whether their teachers made any amends in their work to accommodate children’s needs and anxieties arising from the epidemic. The method used was triangulation: in addition to interviews with children (40), interviews were also conducted with their teachers (19) and parents (31). Our study shows that for most children, return to preschool was not stressful. Most children were happy that the preschool reopened which confirms that children of this age need the company of their peers and that preschool is an important part of their life. In regards to any changes in the methods of work, our research found that just under half of teachers amended their teaching methods and thus demonstrated awareness that children needed some time to readjust to preschool and its routines. Those teachers also seemed to understand that children had to be provided a safe environment in which they could broaden their understanding of the situation and process any potential epidemic-related traumatic experiences. Situations like the epidemic can help teachers reassess their relationship with and approach to children, especially in regards to listening to them and seeing them as competent beings.