Early childhood educators' workplace well-being

A case for using self-determination theory to understand and support workplace well-being in early childhood services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Current conceptualisations of Early Childhood (EC) educator workplace well-being are problematic due to large gaps in the workplace well-being literature. Gaps include a dearth of research examining healthy well-being, limited qualitative studies to understand the complexity of workplace well-being and a focus on hedonic well-being (happiness at work) without the inclusion of eudaimonic well-being (meaningful work). Moreover, attention in the literature is mainly given to external conditions influencing well-being such as poor pay and working conditions. This article begins with a critique of EC workplace well-being literature and then provides an argument that asserts Self-Determination Theory (SDT) has the potential to provide a more suitable conceptualisation of EC educator well-being. Key principles of both SDT and Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) are provided to highlight the suitability of using SDT to understand and also support the healthy well-being of those working in prior to school settings in the Australian ECEC context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages9
JournalNew Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019



  • self-determination theory
  • well-being
  • work-place stress
  • job satisfaction

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