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Pre-service Early Childhood Educators’ career aspirations: Examining decisions to enter the field and professional identity formation

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Title: Pre-service Early Childhood Educators’ career aspirations: Examining decisions to enter the field and professional identity formation
Author: Osborne, Caitlyn
Department: Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Program: Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Advisor: Van Rhijn, TriciaBreen, Andrea
Abstract: This study examined intentions to enter the field of Early Childhood Education and Care of pre-service Early Childhood Education students enrolled in degree programs. Participants were recruited from nine institutions across Ontario. Two hundred and sixty-nine participants completed an online survey. The use of a mixed methods study design made it possible for the data to be analyzed using: independent sample t-tests and thematic analysis. Independent samples t-tests indicated that there were statistically significant differences between students who intend to enter the field and those who do not. Those not intending to enter the field reported a significantly higher level of barriers related to pay and working conditions. The thematic analysis then provided insights into these differences explaining the career choices and identities that these students were aligning with, such as teacher and social worker. Participants identified a number of barriers to entering the field such as wages, working conditions, and recognition; along with incentives such as opportunity for leadership and children’s well-being. The thesis concludes with recommendations for policy makers and post-secondary institutions who are attempting to attract a highly qualified workforce to the field of Early Childhood Education and Care.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/11396
Date: 2017-07-26


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