About the project

Working in early care and education (ECE) settings is stressful and ECE educators often face excessive demands and low-resourced workplaces. This imbalance in demands and resources impacts overall well-being of the ECE workforce; teachers are disproportionately impacted by chronic mental and physical health conditions. Poor workforce well-being can lead to high burnout and turnover rates, which translates to negative teacher-child relationships, and delayed developmental outcomes for children in their care. Multi-level factors that most significantly impact the well-being of Head Start staff, as well as multi-level solutions, must be explored.

The overarching goal of this study is to investigate policies and practices that are associated with worker well-being in Head Start-funded ECE settings and then to implement the WELL intervention via partnerships with five large Head Start agencies in Colorado and assess the impact of the WELL intervention on ECE workforce well-being. WELL is funded by Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

Specific aims include:

  1. To utilize Head Start-University partnerships to investigate constructs within the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Worker Wellbeing framework (e.g., Workplace Physical Environment and Safety Climate, Workplace Policies and Culture) among Head Start staff that are most associated with well-being;
  2. To adapt and refine the WELL program to target specific constructs that are most significantly related to well-being identified in Aim 1 and then to test the effectiveness of WELL; and
  3. To collect data to inform the implementation and dissemination of the WELL research findings and initiate translation activities to achieve large-scale adoption.
  • Co-principal investigators: Drs. Charlotte Farewell and Jini Puma
  • Project period: September 30, 2021 - September 29, 2026