Dispositions of a responsible early childhood education leader: Voices from the field

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Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice

New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society

Subject: Education

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ISSN: 1178-8690
eISSN: 1178-8704

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VOLUME 33 , ISSUE 1 (June 2018) > List of articles

Dispositions of a responsible early childhood education leader: Voices from the field

Gwen Davitt / Debbie Ryder

Keywords : Leadership; early childhood education; dispositions; responsibilities; professional learning

Citation Information : Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice. Volume 33, Issue 1, Pages 18-31, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/jelpp-2018-003

License : (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Published Online: 02-April-2019

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ABSTRACT

In our organisation's research project, “Leaders Growing Leaders” (Ryder, Davitt, Higginson, Smorti, Smith & CarrollLind, 2017), which investigated effective ECE leadership in Aotearoa/New Zealand, leadership dispositions were identified as one means of making sense of the complexities of leadership within early childhood education. The New Zealand early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki: He Whāriki Mātauranga mō ngā Mokopuna o Aotearoa. Early Childhood Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2017) highlights the importance of kaiako (teacher) responsibilities. Similarly, this article argues that the six specific leadership dispositions of an early childhood education leader, identified in our research, can act as a framework to explore leadership responsibilities. Participant voices are drawn on to exemplify and articulate the specific leadership dispositions of being: a communicator; relationship focused; caring and supportive; and a leader of growth and change, whilst also acting as a critical friend. We argue that responsible leadership must be purposefully grown, developed and sustained across the culture of the ECE setting. Underpinning this understanding is the need for dedicated leadership professional development that supports emerging and current leaders, and their teams, to engage in robust collegial dialogue and reflective practice in terms of what it means to be a responsible leader.

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