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Asian-American Early Educators Project

Launched in May 2022 to better understand the degree and nature of anti-Asian racial aggression and trauma experienced by Asian-American early educators during the COVID-19 pandemic, this project aims to lift the voices of Asian-American early educators in the U.S. and develop a pilot support program to mitigate the adverse impact of racial trauma on Asian-American early educators.

With anti-Asian hate widely reported in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, even those who care for our youngest children are not immune to the impact of racial trauma. Data from the Yale Children and Adults Research in Early Education Study (Yale CARES) show that Asian-American early educators are three times as likely to be the target of either physical or verbal racialized aggression (23.1% versus 7.7%) and have reported the highest levels of stress throughout the pandemic, relative to other early educators in the U.S.

The project involves a detailed analysis of ongoing epidemiological surveys of early educators to further explore the health and mental health of Asian-American early educators, in order to address questions regarding how their health and mental health has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the relationship between racial aggression they may have experienced and their health and mental health status, and their access to mental health supports in their early childhood programs and whether this access is equitable and associated with a moderation of the adverse impacts of racial aggression on their overall wellbeing.

Follow-up studies and focus groups will be conducted with a subsample of approximately 100 Asian-American early educators who have previously participated in Yale CARES surveys. The objective will be to gain a deeper understanding of the nature of anti-Asian racial aggression and its impact on Asian-American early educators, as well as to generate ideas for more specific research questions.

The findings from the follow-up work will be used to develop and pilot the support group intervention. The goal is to provide scientific evidence for culturally responsive, effective, and accessible practices to improve the mental, emotional, and social health of Asian-American early educators, as well as to help them thrive in resilience and empowerment in the workplace.

The project is supported by a generous grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Study Team