Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to examine the lived experiences of childcare providers employed at non-accredited childcare centers serving low income families. This study examined childcare providers and the environment in which they worked. The study sought to obtain an in-depth understanding of the day-to-day experiences, behaviors, perspectives, and attitudes of the participants. Participants were selected based on three factors: 1) Participant must be at least 18 years of age. 2) Participants must be employed full-time (at least 40 hours per week) at a non-accredited childcare center serving low income families 3) Participants must have at least one year of experience working as a full-time childcare provider. Participants’ descriptive, written and oral communication were investigated through an analysis following the modified Van Kaam method as presented by Moustakas (1994). Interpretative data analysis revealed that participants feel negatively towards their occupation mostly due to low wages. In addition, participants were often given responsibilities outside of their functions which contributed to occupational burnout, or feeling incredibly overwhelmed. Adding to this matter was the lack of parental support received. During observations, overwhelmed or highly stressed participants were withdrawn, and less attentive to children. Participants who were visibly distressed, had a tendency to ignore children who attempted to interact with them. Participants sometimes responded to children by walking away and leaving the children unsupervised. Most participants lacked adequate, relevant education and training, and were unprepared to effectively serve in their functions. Participants did not demonstrate organizational skills, classroom management skills, or the ability to develop and successfully execute curriculums or lesson plans. In addition to this, each participating childcare center were extremely limited on educational tools and resources. As a result, participants were unable to effectively provide children with a quality education and healthy developmental skills. Participants expressed that their experiences as childcare providers are strenuous to both, their professional, and personal lives. However, participants believe that the services they provide greatly impacts the lives of children and parents. Though participants expressed that their daily functions are challenging participants agreed that interacting with children was the greatest reward of their occupations.



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Committee Chair

Richardson, William B.