Early childhood

The Issue

UNICEF in Action

Resources on Early Childhood Development



© UNICEF/McConnico/2011

Quality leadership is vital to providing teachers and students with support, motivation and guidance towards quality pedagogy.

Little attention has been given in the research literature to assessing and promoting the leadership skills of center directors, principals and administrators.

Some accounts from research about the characteristics of quality leaders in ECE are as follows:

  • ‘Leadership in early care and education has many facets, including and not limited to management and administration...At its core is a deep knowledge of the field, a willingness to take risks, and a breadth of vision and thinking that transcends individual programmes, services or organisations. Leadership in early care and education is innovative, but sensitive to history, diversity and context, and it is collaborative yet bold (Scrivens, 1999).’

  • ‘In addition to being kind, patient, warm, nurturant and so on, effective leaders were perceived ... to be goal oriented, having a planning orientation, assertive, proactive, professionally confident, visionary, influential and a mentor or guide. (Rodd 1996: 122).’

  • ‘To develop good working relationships with all concerned within the centre, to acknowledge staff strengths and provide constructive feedback, to assist less qualified staff, assist in resolving staff disagreements and to participate in but not dominate decision making (Scrivens, 1999).

Some dimensions of quality leadership are:

  • being a guide to children and staff
  • acting like a professional
  • being a good communicator
  • being able to meet people's needs
  • being a multifaceted and flexible person
  • taking responsibility, and
  • being visionary (Rodd 1996: 122) (Rodd 1996: 122).’

Tools for monitoring the quality of ECE leadership

Tool 7 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Programme Evaluation Package (India)

Tool 11 Preschool Programme Quality Assessment, 2nd Edition (PQA)

Tool 15 Ready School Assessment



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