Reexamining Quality in Early Childhood Education: Exploring the Relationship Between the Organizational Climate and the Classroom
Issue/Topic: P-3 Preschool P-3 Teaching Quality/Professional Develpment
Author(s): Dennis, Sarah E.; O’Connor, Eric
Organization(s): Erickson Institute, Chicago, Illinois; New York University, New York, New York
Publication: Journal of Research in Childhood Education
Published On: 12/19/2012
Previous research indicates potentially important associations between the organizational climate and classroom quality. However, little research has been conducted on the role of the organizational climate in the process quality of center-based preschool classrooms.
To examine the relationships between classroom process quality and the organizational climate, overall and relational, in preschool centers serving low-income children. Also, to examine whether the relationship between the organizational climate and classroom quality is different for teachers with different levels of education and different levels of experience.
A significant association between overall organizational climate and classroom quality was found.
- Classrooms located in centers rated as more positive in terms of overall organizational climate (e.g. collegiality, professional growth, supervisor support, clarity, reward system, decision-making, goal consensus, task orientation, physical setting, and innovativeness) and relational organizational climate (e.g., ratings of teacher's relationships with their colleagues and leadership) were rated higher in regard to classroom quality.
- A stronger relationship is found between the organizational climate and classroom quality among teachers with more experience and less education.
- Additional work is needed to better understand the association between organizational climate and classroom quality.
- The findings from this study suggest that policies should focus less on structural influences on quality (e.g. teacher-child ratio) and more on process quality and the organizational climate, which has such a strong relationship with classroom process quality.
- Findings suggest that professional development efforts need to include early childhood center leadership and a focus on the organizational climate.
A quantitative analysis was performed via direct observations and organizational climate surveys. Descriptive statistics were analyzed for all variables (e.g. overall process quality, overall organizational climate, relational organizational climate, and demographic data.)
37 teachers in preschool centers serving low-income families in a large urban northeast city.
Year data is from:
Data Collection and Analysis:
Assessed 37 classrooms through observation on 23 of the 43 Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale- Revised (ECERS-R) items, focusing on process quality and not simply environmental factors. Assessed overall organizational climate utilizing the Early Childhood Work Environment Survey (ECWES) and The Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire for Elementary Schools (OCDQ-RE). Directors and teachers also completed demographic surveys.
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