Effective Leadership and Management in the Early Years

Effective Leadership and Management in the Early Years

Effective Leadership and Management in the Early Years

Effective Leadership and Management in the Early Years

Synopsis

'Effective Leadership and Management in the Early Years... is the best analysis of leadership and management that I have come across. It is a highly practical tool and a resource that will enable early years practitioners at different stages of professional development to explore, understand, rate and develop their leadership and management expertise.' Jillian Rodd, Educational and Developmental PsychologistThere has recently been an unprecedented focus on early years care and education, particularly on the impact of the various adults who work and play with children in the birth to five/six-years age range. Staff in early years settings have had to adapt to many changes and demands, locally and nationally, from local authorities and national government, and none more so than those who suddenly find themselves in a leadership and management role in increasingly complex small early years businesses and settings, often without formal training or qualifications. The book is unique in providing not only a thorough analysis of the leader and manager's role and presenting it as a typology, but also in offering a clear and in-depth view of that role. It also presents ways in which the leader and manager can undertake self-evaluation or work alongside a peer to understand their own strengths and challenges more readily. The book conceptualises effective leadership and management as a tree, with the four key 'branches' of effective leadership and management defined as: Leaderships Qualities Management Skills Professional Attributes Personal Characteristics and Attitudes Effective Leadership and Management in the Early Years is an essential tool for all those who lead and manage within early years settings, which they can use for evaluating their effectiveness.

Excerpt

There has been an unprecedented focus recently on the early years of children's lives and the impact of the various adults who work and play with children in the birth to 5–6 years age range. Staff in early years settings have had to adapt to many changes and demands from local authorities and national government, none more so than those who suddenly found themselves in a leadership and management role in increasingly complex small early years businesses and settings often without formal training or qualifications. For example, consider the playgroup leader, a mother of young children, who suddenly found herself responsible for, amongst other things, sums of government money for 3- and 4-year-olds, accountability for paperwork returns in relation to these children, having to justify the educational experiences provided for these children, and ensuring that staff within the setting received opportunities for professional development. In addition, competition from other providers in the area meant that she also needed to learn how to market the setting to its best possible advantage and learn to communicate effectively with parents in a new leadership capacity and also to work in partnership with a new managing body.

Until recently, little training was offered to those who lead and manage early years settings, and it is credit to all involved that many of these people have worked really hard to enhance their own skills with whatever resources (albeit limited) were available at the time, often against a raft of pressures. As Ebbeck and Waninganayake (2002) suggest, 'there are few publicly acknowledged leaders and no set of common expectations for leaders in early childhood'. Yet there is significant evidence from several research and theoretical sources to suggest that the quality of a setting can depend heavily upon the quality, skills and effectiveness of those in charge. For example, Solley (2003), in a paper given at the Institute of Education, asserted that enthusiasm, passion, inspiration and advocacy rate as the great strengths of a leader. In the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education project (Sylva et al. 2004), it was found that the higher the qualifications of managers, the higher the quality of children's curriculum experiences, the more effective the programme structure and the better the relations with, and between, staff and parents (Taggart et al. 2000). The importance of leaders and managers cannot be underestimated.

The Effective Leadership and Management Scheme (ELMS) is just what the title suggests – a tool for all those who lead and manage early years settings which they can use for evaluating their effectiveness in the role of leader/manager. Its purpose is to ensure that children and practitioners in those settings receive the best possible experiences and direction in their work and play and that parents and carers can have confidence in the particular setting attended by their children.

The development of ELMS involved a range of leaders and managers working alongside researchers and consultants to investigate together the components of effective early years leadership and management. This resultant publication is unique not only in providing a thorough analysis of the leader's/manager's role and presenting it as a typology, but also in offering a clear, in-depth view of that role through a systematic review of the literature and consultation with experts. It also presents ways in which the leader/manager can . . .

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