Child care workers’ wages have been an issue that has plagued the early childhood education field for over five decades. Although research exists on child care workers’ low wages, turnover rates, and lack of benefits, the details of daily life experiences from child care worker perspectives are scant. This study aims to add a lived experience perspective to the child care worker research, as well as provide stories which may be used as examples to inform policy change. This qualitative Participatory Action Research entailed semi-structured interviews with 14 child care workers to investigate: (a) the everyday life of child care workers; (b) how low wages and the lack of benefits affect child care workers’ decisions to either switch between jobs within the field or leave the field; (c) what child care workers would like others to know. Fourteen child care workers who either worked in centers, owned Family Child Care Homes, or were nannies in Greenville County, South Carolina participated. Data from the semi-structured interviews were analyzed using an iterative process. (author abstract)
Examining the everyday life of child care workers: How low wages and the lack of benefits affect their lives and decisions about employment
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