School of Education
Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)
Perseverance, Early Education, Retention, Attrition, Preschool, School Climate
Early Childhood Education | Education
Mellott, Alison Lee, "A Phenomenological Exploration of Early Childhood Educators' Perseverance Experience" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2044.
The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the experiences which motivated early childhood educators to persevere in their positions at the same early childhood education center, for five or more years, in south-central Pennsylvania. For the purpose of this research, perseverance was generally defined as continuous teaching at the same site for five or more years. The theory guiding this study was Herzberg’s (1968) motivation hygiene theory as it addressed experiences which impacted job satisfaction and dissatisfaction, directly impacting perseverance. One central research question and two supporting research questions were used to guide the study. The central question guiding this study sought to determine how early educators of five or more years in the same early learning program described their experiences and reasons for persevering. The research subquestions focused on how early educators described their experiences that caused them to persevere in their position and how early educators who persevered described the coping methods they used to face their challenges in the early education workplace. The sample consisted of 10 teachers from four early learning centers in south central PA. Centers were selected to allow for variation in type of program and quality rating as defined by the state’s quality assurance system. Teachers were selected based on program director’s advisement with consideration taken to allow for variance in participant demographics. Data was collected through semi structured individual interviews, a focus group interview, and observations. Moustakas’ (1994) guidelines were followed for transcendental phenomenological data collection and open coding analysis. The results provide insight into experiences which motivate early education teachers to persevere, which may allow early education programs to increase retention and better support student outcomes.