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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Leadership in Early Childhood Education

Question: Discuss about the Leadership in Early Childhood Education. Answer: Early Childhood Education is an integral field in the society as it focuses on empowering children and reducing poverty as well as educating children. The field for a long time has been run and managed by women who are considered better child nurses than men. Leadership in this field is very significant since it entails women leadership. The success of any given organization is usually attributed to good leadership. ECEC is a recognised field in Australia, embedded in the national as well as the state curriculum. The program is funded by the government through the ministry of education (Selznick, 2011). The personnel in the ECEC sector are based at the centre level and therefore their leadership is mainly based at the ECEC centres. Since their services are based at the ECEC centre level, leadership by the ECEC personnel is focussed on the leadership values executed when dealing with the ECEC children, parents to the children, the community under which they serve as well as their interactions with the governments (Aaker Joachimsthaler, 2012 . Having to deal with people from diverse backgrounds, it is essential for the ECEC personnel to possess special leadership skills to enable them handle the duties they are tasked with. Due to the nature of their job as well as the people they handle, ECEC personnel ought to be caring persons. Busch and Woodrow viewed the ancient character of the ECEC personnel as that which demands one to be a caring woman who is capable to deliver good service to the nation demonstrated by their quality labour as well as ready to sacrifice self for the communit y (Carroll, et al. 2008). Just like the leadership of any organization, good leadership in Early Childhood Development plays a role in ensuring that learning is effective in the Australian ECEC centres. The leadership a part from representing the image of the ECEC centres plays crucial roles that ensures that the centres are on their feet running (Northouse, 2012). The leaders plan, control, direct, lead, motivate, coordinate as well as recruit for the ECEC centres. Therefore leadership in ECEC is both a technical model, a behaviour, a matter of style as well as a philosophy. A leadership model comprises theories and ideas used in an attempt to providing effective leadership. Leadership in ECEC is a complicated phenomenon since it entails dealing with young children who are very delicate as well as dealing with parents and the community. To lead in this field, one requires not only to possess the qualities of an ordinary leader but to have exceptional leadership skills. The job entails dealing with children who may not be able to communicate, some who are violent, others with various medical conditions among other issues. Australian ECEC leadership is mostly based on team leadership where the personnel work as a unit to realize their goals. Moreover, the profession due to its nature calls for and encourages servant leadership where the personnel have to go an extra mile to ensure the safety and well-being of the young and delicate children. According to these theories, leaders are individuals born with exceptional leadership qualities and born with a destiny to lead. The leaders needed not to be trained on leadership skills since according to these theories, leaders are born and not made. Such leaders would simply excel in their leadership positions due to their personality (Avolio, et al. 2009). To support this theory, Shaw (1976) and Fraser (1978) conducted a research after which they came to the conclusion that leaders would score higher marks in innate traits such as intelligence, sociability, popularity and verbal ability. Nonetheless, Woodraw, Busch and HARD argue against the use of this theory in the ECEC since it is masculine and underplays the role of women leadership. Behavioural Ideals of leadership This theory looked at the effectiveness of a leader by observing the behaviours of the leader that were considered to be most effective. According to this theory, if a leader wants to be successful in his/her leadership, he/she must select one ideal style of behaviour that will see him/her perform the leadership duties effectively (Nahavandi, 2016). In 1964, Jane Mouton and Robert Blake came up with a Managerial Grid model to highlight the behavioural styles to be implemented in order for a leader to provide effective leadership. According to them as presented in the Management Grid, effective leadership should depict concern for people as well as a concern for production. An effective leader should have the interests of the people he/she is leading at heart and ensure that at all times the people feel motivated to perform the given tasks efficiently and to achieve a common goal (Gibson McDaniel, 2010). The personnel in the Australian ECEC put the interest of the children first. The leadership ensures that the safety of the child is taken care of before anything else. The ECEC leadership view children as their own and would to greater lengths to protect the child even from their parents whenever cases of any abuse arise. This theory is premised on the idea that the actions of a leader ought to change from time to time in accordance with the circumstances the leader is facing at the time of providing the leadership. This theory allows for and encourages flexibility of leaders to fit in with the changing trends in the leadership styles (Savage Honeycutt, 2011). The leader should adopt new and better leadership methods according to the situation at hand to ensure that they are able to address the problem presented amicably. Leadership in ECEC in Australia has adopted this model. The leadership is free and flexible and changes whenever need be for the sake of the children. For instance, the leadership will easily change the teaching methods whenever it is realized that the method being used is not friendly to a specific child. This leadership model puts great emphasis on the roles the leader has to perform. As opposed to coming up ideal ways of behaving at the organizing or trying to match the circumstances, functional theories of leadership puts emphasis on the crucial areas that needs the leaders urgent action in order for the leader to be considered effective in their leadership (Olson, 2008). The leadership of ECEC encourages performance of individual teachers. Through testing of the skills acquired by the children, the leadership is able to establish whether the techniques used by the individual teachers are effective or not. Integrated Psychological theories of leadership In this model of leadership, the leader employs the use of the ideals of the other four models of leadership while at the same time addresses the inner psychology of the leader. ECEC leadership observes the performance of the child as a result of the techniques used by the specific teachers; how the teacher handles the children as well as how flexible the teacher is when dealing with children of varied capabilities (Trompenaars Voerman, 2009). This technique ensures that the interests of the child come first. Leadership Styles in Early Childhood Education Country Club Style- Using this leadership style, the leadership in the Australian ECEC is concerned with the welfare of the children than just teaching the curriculum. The ECEC leader freely mingles with his juniors and creates a cordial relationship that makes the juniors happy. (Miner, 2015). The leader is more concerned with making the children happy while in school and feeling at home while in the school. Team Style-This style puts emphasis on the task equally as the emphasis put on the employees. Employees are encouraged to own the task and motivated to perform the task without feeling coerced. This is the best leadership style since it adopts a collaborative approach and encourages consultation. The leadership in the Australian ECEC puts emphasis in the welfare of the children as well as are concerned in teaching the curriculum as set by the national/state government to the children. Participative/democratic Style- The leadership in the Australian ECEC encourages and allows the participation of children in deciding the topics they want to learn, the places they wish to tour as well as the teachers they want to teach them. Through this style, the ECEC children acquire the necessary confidence to face the world. Delegative/Laissez-Fair Style- The leadership in the Australian ECEC program encourages children leadership. They do this by allowing the young children to participate in the running of some of the programmes as well as decisions of the ECEC centres. This starts right from class level where children are allowed to present before their colleagues acting as the teacher. This builds their confidence and enhances their leadership as well as presentation skills. At group level, children are allowed to set the rules of engagement when doing class duties. Leadership philosophies used in the Australian ECEC Leadership philosophy refers to the way leaders think and behave while in leadership. Through analysing the leadership philosophies, one is able to identify and explain essential aspects of leadership such as belifes, values, morality, ethics, society, civilization, relationships, politics among others (Hoel, et al. 2010). They include; Australian ECEC leadership encourages servant leadership where leaders put the interests of the children first. This philosophy eliminates materialistic vices such as corruption in leadership of the ECEC centres. A servant leader is not motivated by material gain in serving his subjects but rather by the passion for the job and love for the people. Good leadership calls for the leaders to be themselves and not to pretend to be who they are not. Australian ECEC leadership encourages authentic leadership and teaches the same to the children to make them authentic leaders of tomorrow. ECEC leaders are expected and encouraged to engage in morally upright behaviour and always know that the society looks up to them as role models. ECEC leaders should conduct themselves in a manner that replicates the values expected of them. They should avoid by all costs engaging in acts that will put the position they hold to question (Clarke, 2013). In conclusion, leadership is a position of great significance in the society. Leaders are viewed as role models to members of society. For this reason, leaders of ECEC centres should at all times conduct themselves in a manner that will protect the image of the position and promote good values to the society (Limsila Ogunlana, 2008). They should shun away from negative vices and use their position to be a blessing to the society and not to manipulate the society. References Aaker, D. A., Joachimsthaler, E. (2012). Brand leadership. Simon and Schuster. Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., Weber, T. J. (2009). 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