The Effect of Staff Knowledge on Parental Satisfaction in Childcare
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
LINDENBUSCH, B.L., RIPPY, J.L., VERTIN, N. M. (2004). The Effect of Staff Knowledge on Parental Satisfaction in Childcare. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 7. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved December 16, 2017 .

The Effect of Staff Knowledge on Parental Satisfaction in Childcare
BROOKE L. LINDENBUSCH, JENNIFER L. RIPPY, NATALIE M. VERTIN
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to see if the cost of a childcare center was related to the parents’ satisfaction with that center. We defined the "quality" of the center as the staffs` knowledge of safety and procedures of the center. We looked at various correlations between the staff and parent surveys. Although we looked at some other factors we were interested in, such as the relationship between planned activities and the child’s enjoyment of the program, the main purpose was to find the relationship between the quality and the cost. We gave the parents a survey asking them several questions about the childcare that their child attends. We also gave the staff a different survey asking them questions about their knowledge and satisfaction in childcare. We found that there was not a correlation between the parent’s rating on the quality and the cost of childcare center, which shows that programs that are more expensive are not always perceived by the parents as better. In conclusion, we found that, based on our sample, our hypothesis was supported. The parents perceived quality of the center was not related to the cost of the program.

INTRODUCTION
Millions of Americans send their children to childcare every week. Because of industrialization of our country and the institution of the working mother and the two-working parent households, childcare is an ever-evolving concept that is the subject of much research. A problem that many parents are running into in this area is the search for the affordable childcare program. Many parents desire a facility that will be inexpensive and yet will fulfill their expectations of quality and service. For the purpose of this study, quality of childcare is defined as a combination of parental satisfaction, the comfort of the staff with the children and parents, and the staff knowledge of safety procedures. We believe these factors characterize a standard of care that most parents would consider important when looking for a quality childcare facility. We are interested in the quality of childcare because we have found literature that suggests that it can play a role in the development of a child. Schuetze (1999) found evidence that the time spent in daycare could enhance cognitive development if the quality of the daycare is high. It has also been found that children attending poor-quality daycares were more likely to communicate with adults using single statements rather than full sentences (Peterson,1986). In addition, Vandell (1983) found that children in high-quality centers were more likely to have, in general, positive interactions with adults. The purpose of this study is to find out if staff knowledge and the quality of a facility affects whether or not a parent is satisfied with their childcare.


INTRODUCTION
Millions of Americans send their children to childcare every week. Because of industrialization of our country and the institution of the working mother and the two-working parent households, childcare is an ever-evolving concept that is the subject of much research. A problem that many parents are running into in this area is the search for the affordable childcare program. Many parents desire a facility that will be inexpensive and yet will fulfill their expectations of quality and service. For the purpose of this study, quality of childcare is defined as a combination of parental satisfaction, the comfort of the staff with the children and parents, and the staff knowledge of safety procedures. We believe these factors characterize a standard of care that most parents would consider important when looking for a quality childcare facility. We are interested in the quality of childcare because we have found literature that suggests that it can play a role in the development of a child. Schuetze (1999) found evidence that the time spent in daycare could enhance cognitive development if the quality of the daycare is high. It has also been found that children attending poor-quality daycares were more likely to communicate with adults using single statements rather than full sentences (Peterson,1986). In addition, Vandell (1983) found that children in high-quality centers were more likely to have, in general, positive interactions with adults. The purpose of this study is to find out if staff knowledge and the quality of a facility affects whether or not a parent is satisfied with their childcare.


METHOD

PARTICIPANTS
Our participants were the staff of local childcare facilities for preschool and school age children. We also surveyed the parents of the children that attend these facilities in Saint Joseph, Missouri.

MATERIALS
The materials used were two surveys that we contrived. There was one survey for the staff and another survey for the parents (See Appendices A and B).

PROCEDURE
We handed out the surveys to the staff and the parents and either asked the parents to fill them out there or gave them the option of taking them home to complete.


RESULTS
A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between the cost of the childcare center and the parents’ rating of the quality. A weak correlation that was not significant was found (r(24) = 0.154, p > .01). The cost of the center is not related to the parent’s rating of quality.

A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between the parent’s perception of the staff’s enjoyment and their rating of the child’s enjoyment. A strong correlation that was significant was found (r(24) = 0.772, p < .01). The parent’s perception of the staff’s enjoyment is related to the rating of the child’s enjoyment. A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between the parents’ perceptions of the staff’s enjoyment of their job, affected the way they rated the quality. A strong correlation that was significant was found (r(24)=.737, p < .01). The parents rating of staff enjoyment was related to their rating of the quality.

A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between the childcare staff’s approachability and if the parents would recommend the center to others. A strong correlation that was significant was found (r(24)= .767, p < .01). The parents are more likely to recommend the center to others if the staff is viewed more approachable.

A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between the staff greeting the parents and how the parents’ rated the quality. A strong correlation that was significant was found (r(24)= .632, p < .01). The parents are more likely to give a higher rating in quality if the staff greets them. A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between the planned activities for the children and how well the children enjoyed the program. There was a very weak correlation that was not significant (r(24)= .011, p > .01). The child does not seem to enjoy childcare more if there are planned activities for them.

A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between the affordability of the site and if the parents’ are more likely to recommend the site. There was a strong correlation that was significant (r(24)= .678=, p < .01). If the parents’ feel the center is more affordable, they are more likely to recommend it to others.

A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between if the staffs’ main reason for going to work is for the money, and their enjoyment of their job. There was a strong negative correlation that was significant (r(15)= -.745, p < .01). If the staffs’ main reason for going to work is for the money then they are less likely to enjoy their job.


DISCUSSION
As predicted, we found that there is not a correlation between the cost of the program and the perceived quality. We found that the perceived quality is just as high, regardless of how expensive it is. We found that when the childcare staff is perceived as approachable, the parent is more likely to recommend the program. In addition, we found that there is no relationship between planned activities and the children’s enjoyment of the program (See Table 1). We began this study with hopes of getting information from various childcare programs and centers in the Saint Joseph area. This did not happen. We had multiple problems in getting the parents to fill out our surveys. We even had parents take a survey and then throw it away when leaving the center. They showed no interest in the survey, even when the purpose of the study was clearly explained to them. We were very disappointed in the apathetic attitudes of the parents about a subject that, we thought, would be of high importance to them. We see now why there is not much literature out there in this area of research. This study is a prime example of this. The obvious limitation to our study is the lack of information due to the subjects’ disinclination to fill out our survey. Another limitation is that our survey was short and the answers were limited to a rating scale. We could have acquired more information if we had offered them more of an opportunity to express their opinions in their own words. The problem with that would be the scoring of these opinions and trying to compare them between centers. The generality of this study is low. We can apply the results to the centers and the people of Saint Joseph, but that is it. To increase this factor, the surveys need to be distributed to other centers in other cities and of other professional standards. For future studies, we suggest that the parents be interviewed personally instead of being given an optional survey. Also, more diversity between the different facilities would probably be beneficial. In addition, we think that interviewing the children and including their opinions in the study would be interesting. Hopefully, more researchers will attempt studies in this area because the information is definitely important but lacking.


REFERENCES
Peterson, C. (1986). Parent and child interaction and daycare: Does quality of care matter? Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 7, 1-15. Schuetze, P. (1999). Relation between time spent in daycare and exploratory behaviors in 9-month-old infants. Infant Behavior and Development, 22, 267-276.Vandell, D.L. (1983). Day care quality and children’s free play activities. Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 53, 493-500.


TABLE 1
Question Answer CorrelationDoes the Parents’ Perception of Staffs’ enjoyment Correlate with the Childs’ Enjoyment? Yes 0.772 Does the Parent’s Perception of Staff’s enjoyment Affect the way they Rate the Quality? Yes 0.737 If the Daycare Staff is More Approachable, are the Parents more likely to Recommend the program? Yes 0.767 If the Daycare Staff Greets the Parents, does that Affect the way they rate the Quality? Yes 0.632 If there are planned Activities, are the Children More Likely to Enjoy the Program? No 0.011 Does the cost of the center affect the parents’ rating on quality? No 0.154 Is there a relationship between the affordability of the site and if the parents’ are more likely to recommend the site? Yes 0.678 If money is the main reason the staff goes to work, are they more likely to enjoy their job? No -.745


APPENDIX A
This is a survey for Psychology 302, a class at Missouri Western State College. The answers range from 1 to 10. (1 being strongly disagree to 10 which is strongly agree). If you feel a question is not applicable, chose N/A. Please answer questions honestly.

1. The daycare staff is approachable.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2. I feel confident that, when I leave, my child will be properly cared for everyday.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3. My child enjoys going to daycare.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

4. My child enjoys going to daycare.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

5. I feel that the site that my child attends is safe.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

6. There are planned activities for my child to participate in.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

7. My daycare is affordable.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

8. The staff always greets me when I come to pick up my child.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

9. To the best of my knowledge, the staff is well trained in working with children.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

10. The staff provides help with schoolwork.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

11. Overall, I feel that the staff really cares about my child.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

12. I would recommend this daycare to others.N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

13. Please rate the quality of your daycare (10 being the best).N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Center___________ Family’s Yearly Income$________Cost (Per Week) $___________ Education Level Completed____________Attendance (hours per week)______ Age______ Sex_______Child(ren)’s age________ Race______________


APPENDIX B
This is a survey for Psychology 302, a class at Missouri Western State College. The first part is Yes/NO, please circle the answer that applies, if you feel it does not apply to you circle N/A. The last part, the answers range from 1-10 (1 being strongly disagree to 10 being strongly agree). Please answer honestly.

1. I am certified in CPR. YES NO N/A

2. I am certified in First Aid. YES NO N/A

3. I have prior experience in childcare. YES NO N/A

4. I am familiar with the emergency escape routes for my site. YES NO N/A

5. There is an accessible first aid kit in every classroom. YES NO N/A

6. I feel that I am approachable.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7. I enjoy my job.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8. I am able to speak with parents openly about any concerns I have.1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

9. My main reason to go to work is because I need the money. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

10. I try to use various forms of punishment to get through to the children (instead of always using timeout). 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Center____________ Age_________

Experience____________ Sex_________

Education Level Completed___________ Race____________

Salary (per hour) $________

Submitted 4/27/2004 1:35:52 PM
Last Edited 5/3/2004 7:47:40 PM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

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