Hello from the other side: examining experiences of former early childhood educators to improve recruitment and retention

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Lin, Summer T.W.
Since 2018, the government of British Columbia has funded more than 26,000 childcare spaces across the province. Due to the mandated caregiver to child ratio, at least 12,000 early childhood educators must be recruited and retained to deliver quality childcare. Recruitment and retention of early childhood educators has been an ongoing challenge even prior to the additional spaces being created. This research project aimed to identify the contributing factors that cause early childhood educators to leave their frontline positions. After three former early childhood educators with diverse career paths were interviewed, five major themes emerged from the interviews including wages and benefits; job satisfaction and autonomy; team support for early childhood educators; professionalism, and work-life balance. Based on these findings, it is recommended that early childhood educators ought to acquire livable wages and comprehensive benefits. The benefit package should include pensions, paid breaks, preparation time, as well as professional development. In addition, childcare administrators need to be equipped with leadership skills, preferably utilizing adaptive leadership framework techniques. Professionalism is a key factor to make early childhood education valued and recognized, and one of the strategies would be to raise the qualification standards. Finally, more research on former early childhood educators needs to be conducted to further inform recruitment and retention strategies going forward.
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