Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Leslie Loughmiller, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Sarah Everts, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Rinyka Allison, Ph.D.


burnout, case study, child development, early childhood education, educator perspective, environment, retention, stress, trust and attachment, turnover


Early childhood education (ECE) educators’ roles in promoting the positive development of children are consistently deemed essential in research. Research also presents the severe problems of burnout and turnover in the ECE field. Specific factors such as low compensation, lack of professional development opportunities, and high-stress environments are causing continued rates of burnout across the early education arena, resulting in ECE educators leaving the field. Therefore, it is important to understand the reasons ECE educators are leaving so these challenges are recognized and remedied. A qualitative descriptive case study was used to examine the issue of ECE educator turnover due to burnout. Participants in the study consisted of ECE educators who had previously worked in an ECE program in the Midwest, and recently left this employment of their own accord. Data collected through semistructured interviews gathered the participants’ perspectives to better understand what motivated them, what challenged them, and what influenced their decision to leave. This data provides identification of the factors that ECE leaders should recognize, understand, and address to increase ECE educator retention.

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Education Commons