The Paradoxes of Early Childhood Education: Barriers to Teacher Voice, Advocacy and Identity

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Counselor Education and Human Services


Shauna Adams


Within the field of early childhood education, a multitude of paradoxes exist. The tensions between early educators and the broader community have yielded barriers for advocacy, preventing the voices from those working directly with children from being heard in conversations where impactful decisions are made. This study aimed to explore the feelings and perceptions of those working directly with young children regarding advocacy, professionalism, and the barriers within systems intended to support the work of early care and education. Issues regarding roles and responsibilities, relationships within the work of caring for young children, definitions of advocacy, and concerns regarding work environments were discussed across six interviews with women from a variety of backgrounds who have moved positions and programs within the field.


Early Childhood Education, Education, Educational Leadership, Psychology

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