A key unit completed as part of the early childhood section of my study was the unit ‘Early Childhood Leadership’. As part of this unit I completed an essay, presentation and report.
Below are two exerts from the essay, summarising my beliefs and value for leadership in early childhood.
Quality leadership is fundamental to and is the highest indicator of quality programs for young children (Rodd, 2006). The early childhood sector is driven by strong and dedicated leaders who advocate for the children of Australia. Over the years there have been many attempts to define quality leadership, yet one recognised and distinguished definition has not been found (Bruno, 2009; Reed & Canning, 2010). Rather than ‘defining’ quality it can be seen as being the summation of a wide range of skills, knowledge and personal attributes (Rodd, 1996).
Quality leaders are the keystones of quality EC programs. Quality leaders guide their team (Bloom as cited in Greenman, 1998) with a strong vision, shared goals, mutual respect and support network in order to provide the best quality care and education for young people. Quality leaders also require a high level of emotional intelligence in order to effectively manage the team of teachers, children and families. The survey conducted throughout the research process has been a valuable learning experience and has guided this essay to explore the leadership dimensions most important to ‘real’ teachers and staff. Although the leadership dimensions discussed most simply apply to senior teachers and directors, all staff should aim to better their skills in these areas. In doing so the classroom, the centre and the EC profession will be equipped with a strong, dedicated and skilled work force with the shared vision of providing quality outcomes for children (Brock & Rankin, 2011).
On the linked pages you can see more research completed as part of this unit, including a presentation and report.
I gained a huge understanding and appreciation for leadership in this unit of study. Before commencing the unit, I had never considered I would need to have any leadership qualities for my teaching career. I was sure I only wanted to work in the classroom and never ascend to an executive or directors position, as it would draw me away from the children (which is why I love the job!!).
After completing the unit my views have changed dramatically! I can see that even classroom teachers in both early childhood and primary positions need to possess strong leadership qualities. They are needed to guide and advise colleagues, support and mentor less experienced staff and graduate teachers, to educate and model to children these leadership qualities and to work with the learning communities on shared goals for the children and school/EC centre.