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1-135 - Teacher Wellbeing and Children’s Development in Early Educational Settings

Thu, March 21, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 332

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Substantial evidence shows that children’s experience in early childhood education (ECE) has a considerable influence on their development, and that the adults who care for children in these settings are essential to their success. Unfortunately, the global ECE workforce has historically been characterized as high-stress and high-turnover. This symposium explores links between workplace conditions, teacher wellbeing, classroom quality, and children’s development in ECE in the United States and abroad.

The first paper uses the Job Demands-Resource model to understand how workplace stressors and supports individually and multiplicatively predict classroom quality, and finds that wellbeing is associated with the quality of teachers’ interactions with children.

The second paper uses data from a unique intervention in Ghana to explore how teachers’ economic and professional circumstances are associated with teacher wellbeing, and how, in turn, wellbeing predicts both classroom quality and developmental gains.

The third paper investigates the association between ECE teachers’ wellbeing and children’s executive functions (EF), and finds that both workplace satisfaction and teacher depressive symptoms are associated with EF, highlighting the importance of teacher wellbeing in promoting cognitive development.

Finally, the fourth paper considers how one consequence of teacher stress—teacher turnover—affects children’s development, Using a nationally-representative Head Start sample, it finds that turnover is negatively associated with children’s gains in literacy and behavioral regulation.

Together these papers highlight the importance of the ECE workforce in creating high-quality, developmentally-enriching programs, and assert that policymakers hoping to leverage ECE to close developmental gaps must prioritize the wellbeing of early educators.

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