Kelly Hart Meehan, Ph.D. is a 2022 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.
Kelly Hart Meehan at her Dissertation Defense.
From L-R: Dr. Elizabeth Holloway, Committee Chair, Dr. Harriet L. Schwartz, Committee Member, Dr. Rachel Gooze, Committee Member.
- Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Chair
- Harriet L. Schwartz, Ph.D., Committee Member
- Rachel Gooze, Ph.D., Committee Member
early education and care, family child care, home-based care, job satisfaction, psychosocial well-being, professional identity, caregiving, professionalism, intentional practice, vulnerable children and families, relational practice, authentic caring, love, leadership, program quality, grounded theory, feminist grounded theory
Children benefit from engagement in early education and care (ECE) programs that support their learning and development while also providing a point of connection to critical resources for their families. For children from economically disadvantaged families, the lack of access to high-quality ECE results in a persistent achievement and opportunity gap (García & Weiss, 2015). A significant portion of ECE occurs in home-based early learning environments, also known as family child care (FCC) programs, which play a critical role in supporting children from low-income and immigrant families (Layzer et al., 2007; Porter et al., 2010). Unfortunately, this sector of ECE has seen declining numbers of licensed caregivers over the past decade, due to increased regulatory requirements, low pay, competing commitments, low professional status, and working conditions involving long days in isolation from colleagues or peers (NSECE Project Team, 2016; Tuominen, 2003; Stitou et al., 2018). Using grounded theory methodology, this study explored the lived experience of successful FCC educators, examining the impact of professional identity, intentionality of practice, and management of competing demands on educators’ efficacy, psychosocial well-being, and job satisfaction. The stories shared by educators in this study underscore the value of maintaining and supporting this sector of the ECE ecosystem. The findings provide a deeper understanding of the conditions and social processes that allow FCC educators to be effective and thrive in their work. This insight is the key to retaining high-quality programs, recruiting new professionals into the field, and developing strategies to support and strengthen FCC programs that serve young children and their families. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA (https://aura.antioch.edu) and OhioLINK ETD Center (https://etd.ohiolink.edu).
Meehan, K. K. (2022). Love and Learn: Creating Space for Authentic Caring in Family Child Care. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/865
Early Childhood Education Commons, Educational Administration and Supervision Commons, Educational Leadership Commons, Educational Methods Commons, Educational Psychology Commons, Elementary Education Commons, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Leadership Studies Commons, Organizational Behavior and Theory Commons, Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education Commons, Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education Commons