leadership in early childhood education

Write an essay about leadership in early childhood education.

Introduction

 Leadership is the ability or capacity to lead a group of people to accomplish the desired target. Leadership is the responsibility to lead a group of people in the right direction so that they can achieve what they have intended to achieve (What is leadership, 2018). Leadership is a skill to make the people understand what the leader is delivering to them. Leaders are those who help themselves as well as a group of people to do the right thing. They develop an inspiring vision for the people and set a definite direction to achieve the vision. Leaders map out where the people need to go in order to be successful in their respective work. Some major characteristics of a successful leader are dynamic, inspiring, as well as exciting. The leaders also have the management skills. It is also said that the leadership is a part of management. They manage the people of the group. They sort out the conflicts and help to coordinate the team. A leader is one who leads a group of people from the front. The following are the criteria to make a leader an effective leader (Carter and Curstis, 2010);
•    Develop an inspiring vision
•    Inspire and encourage a group of people to engage with the vision
•    Administers delivery of the vision
•    Builds as well as coaches a group of people to make the group more effective and efficient for achieving the vision

Leadership Philosophy

As an ECEC professional, I believe that a leader should have sound knowledge, competencies, and skills to inspire and make the students successful in their lives. I believe that a leader should be capable enough to inspire the students and guide them in order to achieve the goals and vision of their lives. Being a leader of the education sector, it is the responsibility of a leader to know the students, support their personality development, create an interest in the students as individuals and identify their achievement in order to inspire them for a better result in future as well. Students need delivery of sound knowledge in order to understand the concepts (Waniganayake et al., 2012). 
I believe that the ECEC leaders should have the capability to empower the students. Empowering others for decision making regarding their goals, objectives, mission, and vision is very important. The leaders of early childhood education care should also allow them to involve in recreational activities. Recreational activities are very important for the development of students’ personality. Personality development is very important for the students because the personality of the students significantly determine their professional career. The leaders of early childhood education care should be action-oriented. Action speaks louder than the words. The action of a leader greatly influences the behavior of the students in early childhood education care. It affects their behavior towards an environment of education and determines their involvement in an education setting. Therefore, it is very important for a leader of early childhood education care to be action-oriented.
 
I believe that a leader of early childhood education care should know when to act and when not to. It means the leader should be decisive. The leader should encourage communication between the leader and students as well as among the students. Communication is one of the most important tools to know what is needed to be done and how it could be done effectively. Communication helps in getting the thing rightly. Communication also helps in knowing what is going on in and around the organization. It is also needed because it helps in solving various problems or issues effectively. With the help of effective communication, the leaders of early childhood education care can also inform the students what they have to do and what make it easy to accomplish the task. They can encourage the students to participate effectively in lectures and other educational programs. They can motivate them to do excel in their respective field of education.
 
I also believe that the leader of early childhood education care should recognize the excellent work of the students and should reward them for their effort. Rewarding the excellent work motivate the people to do more effectively the work so they can be again recognized in the organization. Recognition in the organization fulfills the esteem need of the individuals which leads them to achieve self-actualization need. And to achieve self-actualization need, they will have to do more work effectively and efficiently.
I also believe that the professionals of early childhood education care should involve the students in some games. This is one of the best methods to make the students involved in some creative and innovative work. It makes them creative and innovative. They can think differently about the same situation in order to outdo their competitors. Being creative and innovative is also very important for the students. It makes them more capable of doing the things effectively. It also creates interest among the students in motivating them to participate in the games.
 
There are various leadership theories the philosophy of leadership can be drawn upon. The path-goal theory of leadership helps in achieving the target goals of the individual and organization through setting proper direction. The leaders are responsible for setting the path which is best suited to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization as well as individuals. The leaders guide the individuals on their way to accomplish the target. The path-goal theory of leadership shows the behavior of style of the leaders which best suits the work environment to accomplish the goals and objectives of the organization. The main goals of this theory are to enhance the level of motivation of the people of a group, empower them, and encourage them to accomplish the goals. According to this theory, the leaders state that your effort will lead to attractive outcomes. It is very important and applicable in the early childhood education care. The children always tend to do the task which ensures an attractive outcome. When the leader of early childhood education care states to the children that the particular act can lead them to a handsome reward; it is more likely that the children would go for the reward by performing the act. 
Apart from path-goal leadership theory, the theory of transformational leadership can also be used to draw the above-stated philosophy. In other words, the philosophy of leadership can be drawn upon the transformational leadership theory. The transformational leadership emphasizes the values which are new and innovative. Such leaders try to change the existing system of organization and bring something new and innovative in the organization to accomplish the goals and objective of the organization. Such leaders believe in creativity and innovation for accomplishing the goals of the organization effectively and efficiently. This theory of leadership is also very much applicable in early childhood education care. This theory emphasizes creativity and innovation for accomplishing the goals of the organization, the philosophy of engaging children in the environment of education through involving them in the games is being supported.
 
Another very important theory of leadership upon which the philosophy of leadership can be drawn is Servant Leadership. Servant leadership is a very important theory of leadership from the early childhood education care because the leaders according to this theory of leadership keep the interest and need of others first. They care about the interest and need of the other and try to fulfill that first. It is very important, especially in early childhood education care. The needs and interest of the children should be dealt first in order to be more effective in early childhood education care settings. It also focuses on helping the people to develop and perform effectively.

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Enactment of Philosophy in an Early Childhood Education Care Setting

The philosophies outlined in this paper can be enacted in an early childhood education care setting effectively. The following are the philosophies which have been outlined in this paper; 
A leader should have sound knowledge, competencies, and skills to inspire and make the students successful in their lives: if a leader did not have sound knowledge, competencies, and skills he/she would not be able to inspire and motivate the children in order to achieve the set target (Hard, 2016). It is very tough to manage the children as it requires special skills and competencies to manage the children. So, in order to have sound knowledge, competencies, and skills the professionals of early childhood education care should be provided training programs. The professionals of early childhood education care should be well trained so that they can execute their role effectively and efficiently. The management should focus on developing skills and competencies among the professionals of early childhood education care so that they can deliver quality services to the students in childhood care setting. Apart from training programs, the professionals should also be provided workshop program on how to inspire and motivate the students to achieve the set target. Workshop programs are also very effective in developing key skills and competencies in the early childhood education care professionals.
Another philosophy is that the leaders of early childhood education care should have the capability to empower the students. Empowering the student means allowing them to exercise their creative thought. The leaders should practice positive reinforcement to the student. Positive reinforcement to the students empowers the students and inspires them to achieve the set target. The capability of the professionals of early childhood education care can be improved to empower the students through providing them soft skill training program (Larusdottir, 2007). The soft skills training program aims at promoting creativity and innovation.  As the professionals would be trained, they would more support the student in creative thinking as well as empower them.

Another philosophy of early childhood education care is that the leaders should know when to act and when not to. It is very important to manage the action because the action of the leader significantly influences the behavior of the people. The professionals should know what to do and when to do as well as what to avoid or not to do. There are some actions which can negatively affect the behavior of the people. It is particularly very important in the early childhood education care because children very rapidly get influenced by the action of their caretaker and adopt the action of their caretaker. Therefore, the actions which are needed to be taken should be taken otherwise avoid the action which is not needed. This could be done through effective communication program (Hard, 2006). If there would be effective communication in between the professionals of early childhood education care and the students the professionals would come to know exactly what is needed to be done and what is needed to be avoided. 
Another philosophy of early childhood education care is that the professionals of early childhood education care should engage the students in some games in order to make them more involved in the educational settings. The game is a very powerful tool which helps in engaging the students in the educational settings (Palmer, 1998). It also allows the students to think creative and innovative. It can be developed through recreational activities.

Conclusion

Leadership is the ability to lead a group of people in order to achieve the set target. Leadership is a skill to inspire and motivate the people of a group to achieve the set target. It is very important to have effective leaders in early childhood education care. An effective leader is one who engages the followers successfully, motivate them, and trust them, as well as followers also trust the leaders. Effective leaders are very important to the success of education as well as care setting. The role of leaders in early childhood education care is to shape the teaching and learning process. They inspire and motivate the students to achieve the set target. Therefore, the leaders should have sound knowledge, skills, and competencies in order to inspire and motivate the students to achieve their goals. 

References

Hard, L. (2006). How is leadership understood and enacted within the field of early childhood education and care. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.
Waniganayake, M., Cheeseman, S., Fenech, M., Hadley, F., & Shepherd, W. (2012). Conceptualising early childhood leadership. In Leadership : Contexts and complexities in early childhood (pp. 3 - 18). South Melbourne, Vic. : Oxford University Press
Lárusdóttir, H. (2007). The fact that I’m a woman may have been the defining factor: The moral dilemmas of an Icelandic headteacher. Educational Management Administration and Leadership, 261-276.
Hard, L. (2006). Horizontal violence in early childhood education and care: Implications for leadership enactment, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 31(3), 40-48.
Carter, M. & Curstis, D. (2010). Guiding your program with a vision: What's your vision?  (Chapter 1) in The Visionary director: A handbook for dreaming, organising & improvising in your center (2nd ed.). Red Leaf Press: MN.
Palmer, P. (1998). The Heart of a teacher: Identity and integrity in teaching (Chapter 1)  in P. Palmer, The Courage to Teach. (pp. 9-33). San Francisco, Calif. : Jossey-Bass.
What is Leadership?. (2018). YouTube. Retrieved 4 April 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18UVXW-x2_8
Waniganayake, M., Cheeseman, S., Fenech, M., Hadley, F., & Shepherd, W. (2012). Conceptualising early childhood leadership. In Leadership : contexts and complexities in early childhood (pp. 3-18). South Melbourne, Vic. : Oxford University Press.

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