Quality care provision in early years settings has to start at the top, says Sue Robb…. The importance of strong, effective leadership is well known. It is not a new mantra but nevertheless it is always a highly relevant one in early years settings, as competent, committed and adaptable leaders are vital for securing continuous quality improvement.
What does leadership look like in early childhood settings?
Through leading by example, as well as via his or her guidance, it is the person in charge who sets the quality benchmark, tone and aspirations for a setting. Much has been documented about effective leadership and the National College is actively promoting the importance of this area through its system leadership work.
He or she is responsible for setting the example in terms of how staff interact with the children they care for and teach. The revised EYFS Framework refocused our attention on the importance of our interactions with our children in order to secure high-quality learning and teaching. Parents, guardians and carers should feel supported and involved. They also need to recognise the importance of the home learning environment they provide for their children.
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Ensuring plans are in place to support these needs is an important aspect of the leadership role. Leaders in quality settings enable their staff to give consideration not only to what children learn but also to how they learn, as in the Characteristics of Effective Learning — again a core part of the EYFS. In addition to the positive practices that are set out, encouraged and developed by leaders in early years settings, the enabling environment needs to be safe and stimulating.
At the very heart of the practice is the requirement for staff to understand the principles of the EYFS — therefore, the most effective leaders are the most mindful of their workforce.
Download Practice Leadership In The Early Years: Becoming, Being And Developing As A Leader
Emphasising a strong sign-up to the understanding of child development for all staff and ensuring that staff members see themselves as lifelong learners is fundamental. Of course in supporting this, leaders should make CPD a priority in their planning — providing opportunities on identified needs such as working with two-year-olds; on a specific area of learning; on observational assessment; on working with fellow professionals such as health visitors; and around communicating with parents.
As managers of people, leaders in early years settings have an overview of how staff performance is assessed and how areas for development are identified. It is important to aim for a system where there are clear performance management systems in place to support all staff.
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This is not just about ensuring that staff are on target, but also that they feel supported by the leadership in a setting — this is an important factor in ensuring that problems in practices can be identified and overcome, as well as being essential for overall morale. Ideally, early years leaders need to encourage a continuous cycle of self-evaluation, improvement and reflection.
A good communicator, ensures that their team knows exactly what is going on. A manager should be able to discuss, supervise, advise and delegate where appropriate. Listening is vital, leaders should always listen to their teams ideas and suggestions, helping them to feel valued and part of the growth and success of the business. Leaders that are experts in their field are able to share their expertise and knowledge to support, advise and teach their staff team.pierreducalvet.ca/203900.php
Practice Leadership in the Early Years: Becoming, being and developing as a leader
Effective leaders do not withhold their strengths but share them, provide training and give reason behind theories and methods we use in early education. If your staff feel supported they are far more receptive to their managers.
Working in early years is a fulfilling and wonderful job yet it is tiring, physically and emotionally. Staff need the emotional support from their managers as it enables them to connect and feel able to confide and communicate with their manager. Leaders do not try to do everything themselves, they delegate and give responsibility to others under their guidance to instill confidence and give involvement to their staff.
Staff that feel appreciated, involved and trusted have better work performance and happiness surrounding their job roles.
Working in early years is a team effort, no matter your position every person is a link to the overall success and workings of a setting. Keep inspiring, involving, supporting and sharing your passion. Today she offers bespoke consultancy and training for early years settings as well as forest school sessions and much more. Find her at www. Feature your setting in our next blog? Call us on or email us at bianca blossomeducational. Like us on Facebook , follow us on Twitter but most importantly, come and Blossom with us! A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way - John Maxwell.
Effective leadership Typically, those that are given leadership roles demonstrate the qualities needed to be an effective leader, yet it is vital that all leaders understand exactly what is required to be the best leader for their staff team, children and business. Inspiring To inspire others to achieve is one of the most rewarding things a leader can do.
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Role Model We lead by example. Communication A good communicator, ensures that their team knows exactly what is going on. Knowledge Leaders that are experts in their field are able to share their expertise and knowledge to support, advise and teach their staff team.