Learning to be leaders

Year: 2018

Author: Bird, Jo, Hallowell, Leanne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Effective leadership within early childhood settings has a direct correlation to quality early childhood programs and services. Conversely, recent research and literature suggest that many early childhood professionals find the notion of leadership problematic. With recent changes to regulations and the government’s push to increase the number of four-year qualified educators in early childhood settings, many new graduates are being thrown into leadership roles as they are trying to find their feet as new educators in the field. Many university early childhood degree programs teach a leadership unit, but with the complexity of early childhood settings and the leadership skills required, these units do not always cover everything that is needed for a new graduate.
This paper will report on an ongoing research project that aims to investigate pre-service teachers (PSTs) perceptions and understandings of early childhood leadership before and after undertaking an academic unit on the topic. The same PSTs will be surveyed one year after graduating to identify what leadership knowledge they believe they needed to know on entering the field. The participants will be sourced from to universities providing comparative case study data. Preliminary findings will be discussed from the surveys conducted before and after completing the leadership unit. The aim is to provide insight into how best to support PSTs through their learning of early childhood leadership content and as they transition into the profession.