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What matters in childcare centers to retain high quality early childhood educators?

Kathy L Havlicek-Cook, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study focused on early childhood educators in two types of childcare centers: church-based non-profit and private, for-profit childcare centers. The purpose of this study was to examine what, if anything motivates an early childhood educator to remain employed at their specific childcare center. Data and knowledge gained from this study provided key insights on what matters to early childhood educators concerning employment retention factors and retention strategies. The research approach used was a mixed method design, which combined quantitative data from two questionnaires with additional follow up data and early childhood educator insight that came through the completion of in-depth (qualitative-based) interviews. Data analysis and mixing of this study's quantitative and qualitative results yielded crossover findings and the emergence of two specific and significant factors or constructs. The first construct of increased importance was the early childhood educator's perceived leadership by the childcare center's director. The second significant finding involved the early childhood educator's sense of support he/she has received from his/her co-workers within the childcare center. Ideas and implications suggested by research participants in this study could be applied as effective childhood educator retention strategies to seek stabilization of this important workforce, which has a substantial potential impact on a young child's overall development and early academic success.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Early childhood education

Recommended Citation

Havlicek-Cook, Kathy L, "What matters in childcare centers to retain high quality early childhood educators?" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3522160.