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The association between work as a calling and turnover among early childhood education professionals


Turnover of early childhood education (ECE) professionals negatively impacts program costs, staff morale, and relationships with children. We determined whether the presence of work as a calling was associated with less intention to leave the ECE field. From an online survey administered to 265 ECE professionals in Pennsylvania, a calling score based on the Calling and Vocation Questionnaire was used to create sample-defined tertiles of low (44) presence of calling. Those intending to leave the ECE field reported that, given the option, they would most likely “find a position or get training in a completely different field,” or “stop work, stay home, or retire.” Analysis was restricted to 194 respondents currently employed in ECE and under age 60, of whom 94.8% were female and 53.9% were non-Hispanic White. After adjusting for race/ethnicity and workplace stress, the prevalence (95% CI) of intention to leave decreased as calling increased, from low (28.6% [17.8%, 38.4%]) to medium (12.2% [4.3%, 20.1%]) to high (9.1% [1.5%, 16.6%]). The presence of call was associated with less intention to leave the ECE field. Identifying, building, and sustaining call among ECE professionals may decrease turnover. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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