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Leading Edge Blog

Leadership For Early Care and Education

Leadership is an aspiration for everyone involved in the early care and education (ECE) field, including care centers and schools. Leadership of schools and districts has been continuously studied, debated, codified, and even regulated for many decades. Ohio, for instance, has a robust leadership development framework and an improvement model based on collaborative and distributed leadership. Leadership is important not just to leaders in elementary (or other) schools. It’s also essential for directors and employees of care centers. But systematic work relating to the leadership of care centers does not have as long a history as work relating to leadership of schools.

According to prominent writers on ECE leadership (Goffin & Washington, 2007; Kagan & Bowman, 1997; MacDonald, 2016; Rodd, 2006), the division between early child care and K-12 schools presents immense leadership challenges, for the field as a whole and for leadership of care centers (e.g., daycare centers and preschools) and elementary schools. Standards, preparation, and qualification systems differ. And indeed, the outlooks of caregivers and educators often differ, and that may be the most significant challenge (Goffin & Washington, 2007).

New Module to Support Leaders

Nevertheless, in recent decades a consensus seems to be emerging. This consensus draws on ideas about school leadership, but it differs in some ways. Inclusive instructional leadership with a focus on equity is central to our work. To help bridge the division in in its treatment of ECE leadership, the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council created the Leadership for Early Care and Education module. The module takes the view that elementary principals—who in Ohio may not have experience or training in ECE or childcare—have something to learn from those outside the school system who care for children from birth to age 3 or 4. The module also recognizes that school principals can help promote the position that society needs to direct much more attention and resources to the care of young children and the young families they are part of.

Providing high-quality childcare and early education is an investment with very well-established payoffs (Goffin & Washington, 2007; Heckman, 1999; Kagan & Bowman, 1997; MacDonald, 2016; Rodd, 2013). The most prominent professional organization in ECE is also a strong advocate for equity—for everyone, including young children.

Supporting Videos

In addition to this module, OLAC offers several supporting videos, including:

  • Early Childhood Care and Education: Part 1: Leadership
  • Early Childhood Care and Education: Part 2: Teaching to the Edges
  • Early Childhood Care and Education: Part 3: The Importance of Play
  • Early Childhood Care and Education: Part 4: Supporting Families

Earn Credit

Like all OLAC resources, this module is free and you can earn credit. We’re excited to share that this module recently received the Ohio Approved (OA) Designation. Once you complete the module, submit to the Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association (OCCRRA) to receive credit.

Learn more and explore this module.