Date of Submission
Doctor of Education
early childhood education, early childhood studies, leadership, transformational leadership, change plan
The field of early childhood is in a state of flux. Governments nation-wide are initiating changes, in response to the growing body of research demonstrating that early engagements with children and families creates positive outcomes for the whole community. Due to this evolution, there is a social and political expectation that early childhood professionals act as leaders. Although leadership is necessary as the field evolves, the literature suggests that early childhood professionals are hesitant to enact leadership, as their nurturing and caring characteristics are contrary to those required by traditional leadership models enacted by men. In order to empower early childhood professionals to enact leadership, research recommends a collaborative model of leadership as part of undergraduate preparation. This Organizational Improvement Plan explores a significant problem of practice: there is a political and social expectation that early childhood professionals take on a leadership role, yet there is an absence of leadership education and preparation in the early years curriculum. This problem of practice is explored through a transformational leadership lens, with an emphasis on creating a vision for change by empowering others. Within the context of this Organizational Improvement Plan, transformational leadership refers to the broadening of interests; supporting perspective taking; connecting followers’ sense of identity and self to the project; and acting as a role model who excites interest.
The change process involves assessing readiness for change, communicating the need for change, possible solutions to the problem of an absence in leadership education in the early years curriculum, and a change process communication plan. Cawsey, Deszca, and Ingols’ (2016) four-step Change Path Model is presented as a key application tool for each stage of the change process. The problem of practice is significant as the ability of early childhood professionals to enact leadership is critical to the quality of care children and families receive and for the early childhood profession to be recognized as a credible profession.
Merenda, E. (2019). Responding to the Absence of Leadership Education in the Early Years Curriculum. The Organizational Improvement Plan at Western University, 60. Retrieved from https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/oip/60