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ESH348 Leadership And Management In Early Childhood Services

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ESH348 Leadership And Management In Early Childhood Services

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Course Code: ESH348
University: University Of Tasmania

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Country: Australia


Review a minimum of five (5) to seven (7) current articles on management and leadership in early childhood settings. The literature and research can discuss any of the topics covered in this course.
Author a literature review that:
Analyses and critiques management and leadership theories, models, styles and techniques in early childhood settings and practice.
Examines the findings of the literature in relation to the current Australian policy context and leading for quality.
Concludes with a justification of your current understanding of what early childhood leadership in 21st century early childhood encompasses.


Engagement in efficient yet empathetic leadership practices, are of utmost priority, required in the provision of quality managerial services, with context to any concerned organization (Bolden, 2016). Today’s scenario, outlining the salient features of childhood educational practices and policy formulation, is dynamic, due to the increasingly complex nature of early childhood educational requirements. Hence, the need for efficient management and leadership practices prevalent in early childhood settings is imperative for the optimum growth and development of the child, as well for the occurrence of beneficial consequences in the present educational settings (Heikka, 2014). 
The following paragraphs aim to shed light on the availability of various leadership techniques applicable in the field of early childhood educational scenario, followed by a review on present day Australian frameworks outlining the same. An overall understanding of early childhood leadership policies encompassing the educational scenario of children belonging to the 21st century forms the final sections of this literature review.
Review of Literature
The term ‘leadership’, as defined by Elwell and Elikofer (2015), is a relatively recent addition in the field on language, despite early occurrence of its theoretical and practical concepts, since traditional times (Elwell & Elikofer, 2015). ‘Leadership’ implies as a structured phenomena, of outlining the organizational practices encompassing a group of individuals, towards the fulfillment of specified goals, objectives or principles. A leader is the individual, who is engaged in the absorption and execution of this highlighted responsibility (Ghasabeh, Soosay & Reaiche, 2015).
As stated by Fan and Stevenson (2018), ‘Management’, a term associated with considerable familiarity in the functioning of present day organizations, is a phenomenon or activity concerned with the conductance of tasks pertaining to adequate functioning of industries and organizations (Fan & Stevenson, 2018). The field of management requires performance, of a conglomeration of activities concerned with formulation of objectives and plans for strategies, recording and storage of information, followed by exercising thorough control and monitoring of policies of the concerned organization (Jensen, 2017).
Early Childhood
As opined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the period of ‘Early Childhood’, comprises of the ages from birth of the child to when he or she is eight years old. The concerned time of early childhood, is defined by active and dynamic periods of growth and development of a child, at the cognitive, physiological, psychological as well as emotional platforms. For this reason, children belonging to the stage of early childhood are subject to high rates of influence, with respect to the surroundings present in their vicinity (Marope & Kaga, 2015).
Importance of Early Childhood Education
According to Elango et al., (2015), it is to be noted, that the children belonging to the stage of early childhood, exhibit increased and dynamic principles of reception and influence, which behave as responses to the various stimuli present in their surrounding environment. Hence, considering the developmental growth and potential of a child belonging to an early childhood scenario, the implementation and execution, of quality early childhood education policies, is of utmost importance, for the establishment and strengthening of the cornerstones of a child’s future framework, of emotional, intellectual and cognitive development (Elango et al, 2015).
Need for leadership in early childhood settings
According to Kivunja (2015), The conceptual frameworks and requirement outlining early childhood education, is presently encountering constant transformations, due to the presence of a dynamic environment, where the concerned child is exposed to numerous novel stimuli, inflicting considerable alternations in his or her cognition and intellect. Hence, the need for effective leadership in an early childhood scenario is imperative for the development of educational frameworks and policies, which will not only aid in the academic development of the child, but also for management of possible environmental amendments encountered daily, concerning the same (Kivunja, 2015).
Functions pertaining to early childhood leadership
A number of institutes and organizations are involved in the provision of early childhood education settings, which primarily include, centers concerned with education and healthcare of the child, day care institutes or organizations pertaining to family-care., as well as nurseries and crèches (Muschkin, Ladd & Dodge, 2015). Hence, individuals, who are responsible for presentation of functions concerned with exhibition of childcare, involve varied alternatives of professions. Such individuals include professionals such as parents or families of the concerned child, caregivers, teachers, coordinators, administrators, assistants, managers and officers involved in child-care or health care, or any individual exhibiting casual presence in an early childhood scenario (Kerckaert, Vanderlinde & van Braak, 2015). Hence, as opined by McCrea (2015), the following functions concerned with early childhood leadership include leadership pertaining to stakeholders and exhibition of leadership with respect to being a policy designer in early childhood settings, leadership presentation as a pedagogy creator and finally, exhibition of leadership pertaining to advocacy of rights (McCrea, 2015).
Early Childhood Leadership: Stakeholder of a Team
With respect to a setting exhibiting the provision of childhood education, the functioning of the workforce pertaining to deliverance of education to the concerned children, is of utmost importance for the assurance of quality cognitive, intellectual and emotional health of the child. With regards to the proper functioning of a team, the leader in an early childhood setting is responsible for upholding the coherent values of the workforce, as an active team stakeholder (Elango, 2015). According to Kivunja (2015), the team stakeholder of a workforce concerned with early childhood development will primarily function as the ‘primary leader’, concerned with exhibition of direction and guidance of the required team, in the fulfillment of the organization’s foundational objectives, principles and policies. An ideal leader will function as a team stakeholder, not only via appropriate deliverance of important organizational rules and regulations, but also inculcation of a sense of individual responsibility amongst every member of the workforce, pertaining to the fulfillment of the principle goals of the institute imparting education in early childhood settings (Kivunja, 2015). The team stakeholder also ensures the fulfillment of contributions of every workforce member, towards the functional enhancement and improvement of the overall organizational profile. An additional function of the team stakeholder in early childhood settings would be to evaluate one’s leadership functioning and qualities, with the aid of appropriate feedback mechanisms, a practice proven to evaluate an industry’s organizational success, through assessment of satisfaction (Day et al., 2014). The team stakeholder should also engage in evaluating the workforce members awareness and knowledge regarding the importance and functioning of early childhood education, through reflective portrayal, which is an essential tool for intrapersonal knowledge and educational assessment (Brush et al., 2014). For the optimum performance as well as exhibition of leadership qualities, the team stakeholder should actively engage in the conductance of group interactive discussions, which will not only aid in development of harmonizing relationship amongst group members, but also in the formulation of novel strategies. The aforementioned implications are required for the purpose of improved deliverance of educational knowledge with respect to an early childhood learning scenario (Platow et al., 2015).
Early Childhood Leadership: Designer of Policies
With respect to the presence of early childhood settings, a leader outlining to functioning of designing educational policies, is required to undertake active participation in the development and analysis, of the policies and principles of the foundation background of the concerned organization (Roskos, 2017). As stated by Fleet et al., (2015), policy designer in early childhood settings will be responsible for assessing the present functioning of policies of the institute and engaging in critical analysis regarding the success of the same, with respect to deliverance of optimum client satisfaction and positive responses. The concerned policy designer is also responsible for recognizing possible gaps in the present day functioning of the concerned early childhood scenario, undertaking the required amendments and exhibit considerable patience of the same, in order to execute the required modifications of the principles and policies outlining the functioning of the organization (Fleet et al., 2015).
Early Childhood leadership: Pedagogy Creator
According to Baker et al., (2016), in a scenario pertaining to the conductance of early childhood education, the formulation, implementation, execution and evaluation, of the present learning principles applied for the dissemination of knowledge amongst the concerned children, forms the crux of the responsibilities concerned to being a pedagogy creator. A pedagogy creator upholds the requirements and interests of a child, as the utmost prioritized feature in early childhood settings (Baker, 2016). The pedagogy creator aims ensuring the existence of appropriate interactive settings essential for the education of the child, as per Lev Vygotsky’s Social Constructivist theory (Engeström, 2018). The pedagogy creator must also engage in adequate recognition of present day children’s exposure to an increasingly dynamic digitalized age, emphasizing on the requirement of social networks which will aid in a child’s educational and interactive development, as per Siemen’s theory of Connectivism (Siemen’s, 2014).
Early Childhood Leadership: Advocacy of Rights
With respect to functioning in early childhood settings, an individual concerned with leadership pertaining to the advocacy of rights, would uphold the emotional and occupational well being of the present workforce, as highly concerning (Kivunja, 2015). A leader, who is concerned with advocacy in the early childhood settings, should aim at advocating and undertaking active participation in the promotion of the organization’s foundation principles and policy frameworks, at the national as well as international platform (Elango, 2015). The leader advocate would also pertain to ensuring the fulfillment of the rights and benefits enjoyed by the concerned employees of the early childhood settings, and strongly advocating for achieving their overall wellbeing. Most importantly, the leader advocating for rights in early childhood settings, should ensure the provision of occupational opportunities for the workforce, which would enhance the developmental and professional improvement of the same, followed by advocacy of the importance of ensuring optimum educational settings pertaining to the superior emotional growth and complete emotional development of the child (Britto et al., 2017).
Distributed Leadership in Early Childhood Settings
According to Hairon & Goh (2015), during the onset of the 21st century, the concept of distributed leadership emerged, which placed emphasis on the distribution and execution of leadership, involving diverse professionals across a workforce, rather than exhibiting focus on a single individual as the leader of the workforce (Hairon & Goh, 2015). The application of the theoretical concepts of distributed leadership is imperative for ensuring the optimum implementation of leadership and management in the early childhood educational settings. In an early childhood setting, distributed leaderships aims to conglomerate the collective professional advice of a number of experts in order to aid in the development and imparting of beneficial educational objectives and policies pertaining to early childhood education (Talbot et al., 2016). The establishment of cordial relationships amongst the various early childhood leaders who are undertaking varied specializations as mentioned previously, forms the heart of applying distributed leadership, further leading to harmonized collection and implementation of ideas, pertaining to the formulation of organizational objectives concerned with the dissemination of early childhood education (Heikka, 2014).
The Australian Context
In Australia, there is provision for interested candidates to engage in the development of being a leader in early childhood educational settings, to undertake under graduation educational course material. With respect to the Australian context, there is a lack in the presence of clarified principles regarding the actual expectations and educational material on students undertaking academic courses on early child education. The organizational body, involved in the formulation of accredited course material, is ‘The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority’ (Cumming, Sumsion & Wong, 2015). The employment, remuneration and appraisal recognitions of employees pertaining to engagement in early childhood settings are aided by reception of accolades on an industrial platform. This, followed by active involvement of trade unions, further leads to inefficient functioning and fragmentation of the organizational sector of this profession, which is further aggravated by the absence of appraisal of employees who have engaged in a post graduation degree of the same (Bowes & Grace, 2014).
With regards to the Australian scenario, there has been considerable transformation in the occupational framework, of leaders or professionals involved in deliverance of education in early childhood settings. Previously, the role of solely the teacher was considered to be supreme in the imparting of optimum educational information to children in Australian educational settings. At present, accredited educational courses as well employment profiles of leaders in early childhood settings, encompass a variety of roles related to the requirement of team stakeholders, policy formulators, advocator and pedagogy creators, pertaining to not just one group, but a variety of age groups of children (Follari, 2015). According to Weldon (2015), at present, with the rapid emergence of organizations and institutes concerned with imparting optimum educational and cognitive development to a child, the need for leaders in early childhood settings has grown profoundly, emphasizing the occupational and employment potential of the same in the country of Australia. In comparison of the provision of employment services in Australia, there has been a considerable transformation in the occupational scenario over time. Earlier, employment opportunities for individuals graduating with a degree in early childhood education were limited to merely preschool and kindergarten scenarios. However, the emerging presence of centers pertaining to family and child health care, have actively driven the flourishing of avenues, providing vast career alternatives for present day early childhood educators (Weldon, 2015).
Literature Gap
With respect to the concept of working in an early childhood educational scenario, there seems to be a discrepancy between the terms of ‘leadership’ and ‘management.’ Often the terms are used interchangeably, despite the difference outlining each of them respectively. While leaders are assigned the task of exhibiting empowerment and direction of the workforce towards the fulfillment of organizational objectives (Elwell and Elikofer, 2014), a manager is entrusted with the task of organizing the basic functions pertaining to the performance of the concerned workforce (Jensen, 2017). With respect to the early childhood settings, the concept of assigning the term ‘manager’ or ‘leader’, has been strongly debated over the years, upon a background of lack of specific definitions regarding the true identity of an early childhood leader. Hence, there is need for further research, with regards to the statement of clearly defined occupational highlights, establishing distinctions between a manager and a leader, in early childhood leadership settings (Peleman, Jensen & Peeters, 2018).
Summary: the 21st Century Scenario
Hence, upon outlining a summary, a number of key concepts can be emphasized regarding the present day principles encompassing early childhood leadership in a 21st century scenario. It may be observed that with the rapid emergence of institutes concerned with the deliverance of early childhood education, the demand for an actively functioning workforce comprising of quality leaders in an early childhood setting has increased vastly. However, it is worthwhile to mention that there is a lack of an organized appraisal and recognition structure, pertaining to the reception of occupational awards, followed by an absence of adequate educational courses concerned with the coverage of early childhood education at higher academic platforms. Despite the vast availability of varied occupational opportunities with respect to early childhood education, there still remains an absence of adequate theoretical framework pertaining to the differences between a leadership and a manager in early childhood settings. Hence, there is a requirement for sufficient research pertaining to the same. Lastly, with respect to the occupational scenario in Australia, there still lies a requirement of an organized workforce structure and clearly defined positions relative to the delegation of a ‘leader’ and a ‘manager’, in the employment settings concerned with the deliverance of early childhood educational strategies.
Baker, M., Krechevsky, M., Ertel, K., Ryan, J., Wilson, D., & Mardell, B. (2016). Playful Participatory Research: An emerging methodology for developing a pedagogy of play. Nine (Edmonton).
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Bowes, J., & Grace, R. (2014). Review of early childhood parenting, education and health intervention programs for Indigenous children and families in Australia.
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Muschkin, C. G., Ladd, H. F., & Dodge, K. A. (2015). Impact of North Carolina’s early childhood initiatives on special education placements in third grade. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 37(4), 478-500.
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