young boy on a slide
Our Work

NIEER’s Preschool Learning Activities (PLA) Survey

Beginning in Spring of 2020 in partnership with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, NIEER conducted a series of surveys on preschool program participation and learning activities in the home. Initially designed to measure the impacts of the pandemic on children ages three to five, the survey has continued beyond the initial years of the pandemic each fall after initially being a spring and fall survey. Survey topics include: preschool enrollment and experiences, parent-child activities in the home, children’s activities (indoor and outdoor play, screen time, reading, and creative and arts activities), children’s social and emotional development, access to print materials, and access to nature and outdoor play spaces. The survey was expanded to collect more information to explore specific topics over time. Many of the questions were designed to be comparable to questions in the 2019 National Household Education Survey to facilitate comparisons to a large nationally representative sample pre-Covid. The PLA survey sample is designed to be nationally representative, and responses are weighted for representativeness prior to analysis.

Preschool Learning Activities

Findings from a National Survey Fall 2023

boy and dad smiling
Preschool Learning Activities

Highlighting Outdoor Play, Fall 2022 Findings from a National Survey

Playing outside

More Research

    Corona pandemic in the United States shapes new normal for young children and their families

    The COVID-19 pandemic tremendously disrupted ECE in the U.S., closing many private programs and nearly all public preschool and primary classrooms. To understand this impact, we used multiple strategies, including a nationwide survey of parents; a review of state policies, guidance and resource documents; and scans of media coverage to obtain information on how the pandemic has shaped policy and the ECE experiences of young children and their families across the U.S. beginning in the spring and continuing through the fall of 2020.