Early care and education (ECE) teachers are paid strikingly low wages yet are increasingly expected to advance children’s learning by offering high-quality classroom environments. Teachers’ capacities to provide high-quality instruction should be affected by the stressors they encounter and the supports they receive. This study describes ECE teacher supports, experiences, and well-being in a sample of teachers serving 4-year-olds from families with low incomes in a mixed-delivery ECE system in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We find that teachers who reported high levels of teamwork among colleagues and those who reported more wellness supports in the workplace had classrooms that scored higher on observed quality; teachers who reported more depressive symptoms scored lower on observed classroom quality. If these findings are replicated in other samples—using additional measures of ECE teacher supports, experiences, and well-being—they point to areas ripe for investment in ECE teacher professional development and workplace supports.
This report is part of a larger research paper series on Strengthening the Diversity and Quality of the Early Care and Education Workforce funded by the Foundation for Child Development and edited by the Urban Institute.
Paper series editor: Heather Sandstrom, Urban Institute