First Advisor

William Parnell

Date of Publication

Fall 12-4-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Early childhood teachers -- Oregon -- Attitudes -- Case studies, Early childhood educators -- Oregon -- Attitudes -- Case studies, Early childhood teachers -- Training of -- Oregon, Early childhood educators -- Training of -- Oregon, Career development



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiv, 251 pages)


Since 2011, the state of Oregon has embarked on a comprehensive educational policy change to create a unified birth to twenty educational system. As part of the birth to age five early childhood and family investment strategy, mandated participation in Oregon professional development system is required for all early childhood educators working in Office of Child Care licensed programs. To date, research on early childhood educators' experience in professional development systems has focused primarily on experiences with regulatory systems. This hermeneutic phenomenological study explored how four early childhood educators made meaning of their experiences of professional engagement in Oregon's state professional development system.

As a researcher-participant, I conducted a two-part interview with these early childhood educators. First, we revisited the experience of the professional development journey in collage, followed by narrative semi-structured interviews. The researcher employed Dahlberg's (2006) concept of "bridling the experience" (p. 16) as a way to develop an understanding of early childhood educators' professional practice and the intersection between practice and professional engagement in Oregon's professional development system for childhood care and education. The collage and narrative dialogues illuminated the essence of each individual's experience. Experiences such as the intersection of personal professional self, acts of professional engagement, and the emotional nature of participants' work all emerged from the collage and interview process. Three essential themes emerged from the data interpretation and discussion, namely, (a)Personal and Professional Self: Intertwining Personal Experience and Professional Identity, (b)Curves Ahead: Maneuvering Rivers, Roads, and Paths, and (c)The Journey and the System are Asynchronous: "You Guys Figure that Out, Good Luck." Through the emergence of essential themes, participants demonstrated that their experiences while unique also shared common characteristics of what it means to be an early childhood educator in Oregon living with policy in the classroom. It is now the turn of policy makers and program managers of Oregon's professional development system to recognize the strength and wisdom of the voices in the early childhood classroom.


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