The journey of leading in Early Childhood

Today, we are sharing some insights on leadership in early education and care from Val Tillett, who will be presenting at our 18 March 2017 conference in Newcastle. Val is an accomplished early childhood educator, researcher, and owner of Evolve Early Childhood Consultancy.

There is a lot more to steering leadership in Early Childhood than one might think. As a leader, you have the opportunity to inspire and influence others, to learn and extend themselves – personally and professionally.

A passionate early childhood education and care leader has the opportunity to empower others to learn and aspire to become confident and competent educators, who have a desire to take on leadership roles and in turn, sustain the profession into the future.

An effective leader needs to be attuned to each of their team member’s strengths and be able to recognise how to support the individual development of each of their educators; their personality, their disposition, learning style, skills, and knowledge.

As a leader, you should be able to identify how to compliment each of the team members’ strengths and aspirations to achieve the team’s vision and their professional growth. Throughout my career, I have come across many leaders who believe educator professional development is all about attending workshops, conferences and retreats. These opportunities are only a small part of creating and enhancing educator development.

Furthermore, how is the content of that professional development being transferred and communicated to other team members. Will it be accurate and in the context in which it was originally delivered? Does it become a lot of ‘childcare whispers’?

Another important aspect to consider is how much of the content is relevant to the learner? Is it too philosophical? Who is delivering it? Is it even understood or able to put into practice in the ‘real world’ or early childhood? How many consider that room leaders, coordinators or directors are the only candidates worthy of attending a workshop, retreat, conference, workshop or any other professional development?

Professional development needs to be tailored to each and every educator and their individual development. Every educator’s individual development is as important as the next, regardless of their qualifications, position or role.

As a leader, you have the opportunity to underpin the aspirations, achievements of your team and its professional identity. Just like a ‘captain’ of a ship or a sporting team, you must recognise your role is critical to delivering the outcomes of the team and profession now and for the future.

© Val Tillett
MEd, BEd, BTch.
Val Tillett is an Early Childhood professional who works as an educational consultant and researcher. She is the owner of Evolve Early Childhood Consultancy, a boutique early childhood consultancy. Val has more than 20 years experience as an early childhood practitioner. She is extremely passionate about the sustainability and quality of the Early Childhood Education and Care profession and strives to support educators and the profession in achieving this.

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