Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Second Advisor

James R. Bliss

Third Advisor

Sonia Michael


Early childhood professionals have established a set list of characteristics that denote a high quality early care and education environment for children under the age of kindergarten, but these may not be the same characteristics that parents consider in the decision-making process. The researcher used survey research to obtain quantitative research data from three hundred and ten participants that live in Central Kentucky and have a child under the age of kindergarten currently in childcare. The participants completed a survey that used a Likert scale from 1 to 4 to rate thirty-six characteristics of childcare programs and were asked to select the three most important characteristics when selecting childcare for their children. The findings of this study are valuable to childcare program directors to help them meet the needs of the families enrolled in their programs and assist them with marketing their childcare program appropriately.