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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Teachers’ Voices: Work Environment Conditions That Impact Teacher Practice and Program Quality


We are pleased to share our most recent SEQUAL study, Teachers’ Voices: Work Environment Conditions That Impact Teacher Practice and Program Quality, completed in partnership with First 5 Alameda County in Alameda, California.

The features of early childhood workplace environments – what teachers need in addition to training and education in order to help children succeed – are routinely overlooked in quality improvement efforts. Educators’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills and to continue to hone their practice requires a work environment that supports their ongoing learning, prioritizes time without child responsibilities for professional activities, and offers dependable benefits that ensure their well-being. To facilitate bringing teachers’ voices into quality improvement strategies, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) developed Supportive Environmental Quality Underlying Adult Learning, or SEQUAL, as a tool to document teaching staff perspectives about workplace conditions that impact their practice and program quality.

This current report documents findings of teaching staff perceptions of their workplace environments, assesses how responses varied by site characteristics and quality assessments, discusses implications of findings and offers recommendations for action. Several themes emerged from our findings, including a need for greater paid time for professional responsibilities and increased staff stability, more opportunities to engage in professional development, and policies, practices, and relationships supportive of teaching staff economic well-being. Teaching staff who perceived their work environments more positively across multiple dimensions worked in sites with higher CLASS Instructional Support scores.

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