Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Heather Miller, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jillian Skelton, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Thomas Cavanagh, Ph.D.


Parents look to child care programs to provide supervised oversight for their children when they are unable to provide the care. Quality school-age care is important because program type and staff-student interactions can affect the participant’s engagement and belonging as well as promote social-emotional and character development. Perceptions of quality programming with school-agers have not received the same attention and research interest as services for younger children. I examined school-age child care teachers’ perceptions of experiences and challenges with operating quality programs in one school district in southeastern Michigan to better understand their perspectives. The study was guided by two research subquestions: How do school-age child care teachers define quality programming? What are the experiences of school-age care teachers with high staff turnover and quality programming? A purposeful sample of 13 school-based teachers with varying years of experience and education participated in this study. Semistructured face-to-face interviews, program observations, and field notes were used for data collection. An inductive approach was used to analyze data from the interviews and an interpretive approach was used to analyze data from observations and field notes. The key findings were that participants thought quality programming occurred where trained and engaged teachers used students’ preferences to structure environments that supported creativity and where teachers were able to positively adjust to the challenges of high staff turnover. The participants viewed competent leadership as an essential component of quality programming and that training and experience are needed to build capacity, so they can competently perform their jobs.

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