Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Child Development



First Reader/Committee Chair

Wilcox, Amanda


Despite a significant increase in the demands for teachers’ professional development, the work environments of teachers have not developed at a comparable rate. Due to research on inequity in teacher work environment, the purpose of this case study was to explore the role of empowerment in the early childhood education (ECE) workforce, using Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) as a framework. This project was done with 5 educators in a for‑profit ECE center. Over the course of five weekly sessions, the educators completed questionnaires, interviews, and engaged in weekly focus groups geared towards providing the teachers with an opportunity to share their experiences and collaborate on solutions for change in their work environment. Overall, descriptive statistics of the quantitative data did not demonstrate an increase in empowerment over the course of the project. However, the six emerging themes (i.e., Frustration with Center Operations and Corporate, Empowerment, Communication, Emotional and Physical Well‑Being, Teacher Unity, and Teacher Training and Education) provided important insights into the nature of teacher empowerment in the ECE setting, which informed lessons learned and future directions for research.

Included in

Psychology Commons