Overcoming the Challenges of Family Day Home Educators: A Family Ecological Theory Approach





This paper explores a framework of family ecological theory for overcoming the challenges facing family childcare educators (FCC educators), who care for small groups of children in their own home. Pathways to overcoming these barriers through an ecological approach will be outlined by critically examining current research on these challenges. In this way, I justify using ecological theory as an effective tool for conceptualizing the challenges of FCC educators. Ecological theory describes how people’s growth and change is influenced by the contexts around them (Bronfenbrenner, 1986). For isolated FCC educators working alone with young children, the limited interactions, supports, and environments they encounter offer incredible meaning and possibility. Examining how the challenges they face can be overcome with a family ecological theory approach illuminates many avenues for success in this unique population. In this paper, the four main challenges of lack of respect, low wages and funding, isolation, and lack of training currently facing FCC educators are examined with an ecological lens to highlight opportunities for positive change. Final thoughts of how this benefits others using an ecological theory framework conclude this paper.

            Keywords: family day home, family childcare, early childhood education, ecological theory