Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




organizational improvement plan, relational leadership, organizational change, infant caregiving, Arendt, ethics of care


In current movements that seek to redress the early education and care sector, professionals who work with infants are gaining recognition for possessing a unique set of expertise and competencies that extend beyond custodial caregiving. In this emerging recognition however, the relatedness between leadership and infant caregiving is dearth in early years research, policy, and practice agendas. This phenomenon is evidenced in course outcomes, content, and experiential elements in an Ontario early years honours leadership degree. As such, this Organizational Improvement (OIP) plan endeavours to tangibly intersect leadership and infant caregiving by examining contextual informants relating to this problem of practice. Care, an ethics of care, and the problematic past of leadership and infant caregiving are deliberated. Trust and care are likewise surveyed and posited as main to actioning the change necessitated to more closely ally leadership with infant caregiving in preservice academic and experiential degree learning.

Leadership in this change plan is conjectured as twofold granted that it is not only central to the momentum necessitated to action change, but also to the de-coupling that resides between leadership and infant caregiving in the postsecondary program affixed to this OIP. The mutually complementary qualities that exist between relational leadership and infant caregiving, apprised by Arendt’s interwoven theories of natality, plurality, and action, is argued as a fitting theoretical stance to underpin this plan. Principal to proposed solutions is stakeholder readiness and responses, most notably those of infants and future infant caregiving leaders. Mainstay to this OIP are strategies to navigate change which are inclusive of Empowerment Evaluation and relationally-based communication. Ultimately, this Organizational Improvement Plan advocates for pre-service early education and care students to engage in degree level learning that incites deconstruction, reflection, and revisioning of narratives that locate infant caregiving within a relational leadership paradigm.