Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Childcare programs that provide high quality care can strengthen children's early development. One component of a quality program is having providers who are knowledgeable in child development; however, despite the understanding of these known predictors of child development, Wyoming does not require childcare providers to complete any training before beginning to work with children. Guided by the constructivist theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, Dewey, and Bruner, this objectives-based program evaluation investigated the Pathways to Professional Development program to determine participants' perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the program. A researcher-produced survey was created based on the objectives of the program and consisted of open-ended and Likert scale questions. This survey was completed by 35 childcare providers who completed the 3 modules of the Pathways program. Data analysis began by identifying potential categories, comparing and contrasting emerging themes, and looking for emerging patterns in participant responses. Key results indicated that the participants of this program gained knowledge about child development and developmentally appropriate practice. The implications for social change from this research are directly related to the early childcare providers, children, and ultimately the communities of Wyoming. By increasing the knowledge of childcare providers, higher quality care can be provided, leading to positive relationships, stimulating learning experiences, and to a greater likelihood of children reaching their full potential.