The Foundation believes that it is necessary to promote strong leadership to ensure that ECE instructional leaders have the skills and resources they need to provide high-quality early care and education and to better support their instructional staff. Strong leadership among early childhood administrators and supervisors is imperative in helping early care educators to support children’s growth in cognitive, social, and emotional areas.
Quality programs are led by instructional leaders, such as principals, superintendents, center and program directors, and family child care owners who understand child development, effective instruction, and sound fiscal and organizational management. Early care and education leaders are often responsible for instructional content and activities, as well as child assessment systems, occurring within their classrooms and homes. Such leaders must assist these educators to enhance their knowledge on the science of early childhood development, on family engagement methods, and on how to provide effective instruction to a range of children at different skill levels. Furthermore, instructional leaders are responsible for creating supportive work environments where early educators and professionals can both utilize their skills and continue their own professional learning. Finally, instructional leaders must collaborate and build linkages with multiple stakeholders, early care and education professionals, and other social service partners to be responsive to the needs of the children, families, and communities.
According to the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council’s Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age Eight: A Unifying Foundation, instructional leaders need to possess the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to:
- Assist teaching staff to implement effective instruction informed by up-to-date knowledge of child development and early learning;
- Assess growth and performance related to children’s progress, as well as the professional learning of staff;
- Create supportive working environments utilizing sound management principles, founded on sustainable fiscal management, and complying with applicable rules and regulations; and,
- Partner with parents, stakeholders, professionals, etc. to support children’s development and be responsive to the community’s needs.
To promote leadership, we support the work of the Early Childhood Leadership Development Consortium (ECLDC), which is a voluntary network national early childhood and public education organizations, institutions of higher education, professional development and training groups, philanthropic organizations, and policy advocates dedicated to fostering the development of more effective leaders for programs serving the birth-through-age-eight continuum. Building from the Transforming the Workforce Report, the Consortium is working to develop a unified position statement defining competencies required for successful early childhood leadership.