“It Feels Better When You Have Somebody in Your Corner:”Head Start Teachers Share Insights on Recruitment, Retention, and Supporting the Workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic confronted an already fragile early childhood sector with new and pressing challenges, which have often been felt most acutely by early childhood educators. In the last two-and-a-half years, the early childhood education sector has struggled to recruit and retain its workforce. While most other professions have recently experienced a robust recovery in their labor markets, early educators are not returning to work in similarly strong numbers. The child care field has lost 8.2% of its essential staff since February 2020.  

To better understand teachers’ direct experiences during this unprecedented time and document their suggestions for improving workforce recruitment and retention, GEEARS conducted a series of focus groups throughout 2022 with different sectors of the early childhood education workforce. We’re pleased to kick off this series with the release of our first report, which focuses on Head Start teachers and assistant teachers.   

Click here to read the report and see GEEARS’ policy and practice recommendations based on the voices that matter most—the educators working with Head Start students every day. We hope this deep dive into these teachers’ experiences will serve as a roadmap for policymakers and other leaders to support this critical workforce.