Leadership in ECE
Leadership supports the development of effective teaching and learning in ECE by promoting trusting, supportive relationships and prioritising professional learning.
Leaders should focus on building effective relationships and on supporting effective teaching and learning by encouraging and enabling teachers to grow in their teaching practice through professional learning. Leaders should promote intellectually rigorous programmes, inquiry and research in their centres, and create a rich culture of professional learning activity.
Leadership in the ECE sector in New Zealand has historically had a low profile, although recent documents and guidelines have started to recognise its importance. New Zealand’s ECE curriculum document, Te Whāriki, explains that leadership is not just the responsibility of centre leaders and other positional leaders, but is expected of all teachers.
While there is clear evidence of the value of leadership in the school sector as well as in the organisational literature more broadly, there is a relative paucity of research on leadership in ECE. However, there is evidence of the importance of leaders in ECE leading professional learning, and researchers argue that mentoring and coaching are important leadership strategies for supporting the professional learning of both individuals and teams.
Positional leaders play a crucial role in creating a collaborative organisational culture focused on improvement. It is important that positional leaders in ECE provide support and encouragement as well as professional learning opportunities for the teachers they lead, and also that they enable teachers to develop their own leadership capabilities. Effective practice in ECE involves leaders and teachers working collaboratively to positively impact children’s learning. However, leaders should also model effective practices and expect accountability.
- How do we build and sustain trusting relationships in our centre?
- How can we support leadership in others through mentoring and coaching?
- How can we ensure access to and lead professional learning in our centre?
- How can we reflect on and develop our own leadership practices?
"Early childhood perspectives are often overlooked in educational resource provision – it's fantastic to have our own information, which will help us cater for very young learners."