First Advisor

Jerry Lansdowne

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Day care centers -- Administration, Leadership, Day care centers -- Employees -- Attitudes



Physical Description

v, 227 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


The utilization of center-based child care services by working and student parents has increased dramatically over the last two decades, and has been accompanied by an equally strong interest, among the public and researchers alike, in the establishment and maintenance of quality caregiving in center-based care. This study addresses the leadership characteristics of administrators of quality child care centers. The intent of the study is to add to the existing knowledge concerning the role that the child care center administrator has in maintaining the delivery of high quality child care by the teaching-caregiving staff. Two factors were investigated: the leadership style of the administrator; and the organizational climate of the center, which is both directly and indirectly influenced by the administrator. Four child care centers were selected as the cases to be examined. The information about leadership style and organization climate was gathered through the use of semi-structured interviews with the administrators, the Leadership Style Assessment Tool, the Early Childhood Work Environment Survey, and SYMLOG Group Average Field Diagrams. From this study, the leadership characteristics that the administrators of high quality child care centers shared in common were that they employed a balanced leadership style that utilized different approaches depending on the situation. The administrators in this study chose a mostly female approach to their job which seemed to create very healthy, responsive, and supportive work environments for the teacher-caregivers. The work environments that these leaders have created tend to unify the staff members who work there in a positive direction. These high quality child care centers are, in one word, friendly. The leaders of these provide staff with strong supervisor support, opportunities for professional growth, and an appropriate physical setting in which to do their work. These factors are strongly related to findings about high quality early childhood education in the research, and this study has provided additional support for these findings.


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