Family and Center-Based Child Care Providers' Beliefs and Concerns About Professional Development Opportunities

Open Access
Author:
Searfoss, Annette Louise
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
October 07, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Dr James Johnson, Dissertation Advisor
  • James Ewald Johnson, Committee Chair
  • James F Nolan Jr., Committee Member
  • Andrea Vujan Mccloskey, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • child care
  • early childhood education
  • beliefs
  • concerns
  • professional development
  • Concerns-Based Adoption Model
  • expectancy-value theory
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to uncover family and center-based child care providers’ beliefs about professional development opportunities available to them in the current environment of increasing expectations. As research has become available to spotlight the possibilities for young children, and the disparities between children who have quality early experiences and those who do not, more public figures are convinced that investments in early childhood programs are key to shrinking the divide between children before they enter school. The changing identity of the child care workforce that cares for and educates these children has prompted a need for specialized professional development approaches to help child care providers embrace this new role. Little is known about effective professional development in early childhood programs, especially home-based programs. This study addresses two primary research questions: (1) What are family and center-based child care providers’ concerns and beliefs about increasing professional development requirements? and (2) What factors contribute to the providers’ decision to participate or not participate in professional development initiatives? The Maryland Child Care Credential, a professional development incentive program, provided a focused professional development model to explore. Thirty-seven participants from child care centers and family child care homes in the three western counties of Maryland participated in the study. Data collection tools included three Concerns Based Adoption Model tools developed by Hall and Hord for public school teachers. Child care providers completed a 35-item Stages of Concern Questionnaire and an Open-Ended Statement. Child care providers also participated in follow-up interviews. The designer of the Maryland Child Care Credential, Liz Kelley, provided information in the creation of an Innovation Configuration Map to outline the intent of the Credential program. Use of Hall and Hord’s Concerns-Based Adoption Model tools suggested an additional research question: Whether or not the CBAM in slightly modified form could be used with the child care population. The exploratory study found that family and center-based child care providers are concerned about increasing professional development requirements of the voluntary Maryland Child Care Credential. Child care providers who are currently participating in the Credential program are either required to participate to receive college funds or to maintain employment, or they believe that the Credential will soon be required and want to be prepared for that time. Child care providers who are using participation incentives to receive a college education are most likely to believe that the Credential is relevant to their own professional goals. Child care providers who do not believe that a college education is relevant to their own goals or the goals of the parents they serve are least likely to begin or continue participation in the Credential program. All child care providers, whether or not they are currently participating in the Credential program, are concerned about the time needed to complete requirements and the procedures that must be followed to receive and maintain the Maryland Child Care Credential. Child care providers reported long work hours, sometimes working second jobs, and family commitments that demand their time outside of work hours. Child care providers in child care centers who required Credential participation were more likely to have procedural supports in place to minimize the time needed to understand, complete, and maintain requirements of the professional development program. Family child care providers reported challenges in gaining support in understanding and maneuvering the Maryland Child Care Credential system. These three Concerns Based Adoption Model tools, along with follow-up interviews of each consenting participant, allowed me to describe the concerns and beliefs of the individual child care providers. There was consistency in individual child care providers’ responses between the Innovation Configuration Map, the Stages of Concern Questionnaire, and the Open-Ended Statement. The small sample size does not allow generalization to the larger child care population, but these initial findings do support engaging in a larger scale study to further explore the use of the modified Concern-Based Adoption Model with professional development innovations within the child care field.