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Leadership : Contexts and Complexities in Early Childhood Education - Manjula Waniganayake


Contexts and Complexities in Early Childhood Education

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Leadership is an essential resource that informs day-to-day pedagogy and management of early childhood organisations. Based on the authors’ professional development and research-based activities in a variety of locations including metropolitan, rural and remote regions in Australia, the book draws on established professional networks to capture diverse images and experiences of early childhood leaders.

Leadership: Contexts and Complexities in Early Childhood Education is in two parts. The first provides an orientation to the various contextual dimensions of early childhood leadership. These chapters are focused on ‘big picture’ issues that give shape to early childhood leadership, and include discussion of early childhood policy, legislative frameworks, quality standards, advocacy, governance and pedagogy. Part two deals with the application of leadership within an early childhood setting. These chapters address perennial areas of importance including the development of sound relationships with families, engagement with community, and the creation of effective workplaces, as well as focus on other relatively new leadership dimensions: social entrepreneurialship, professional judgment and succession planning.

Key features:

  • Practitioner voices through out reflect diversity across gender, culture, age and expertise of those working in a range of early childhood contexts.
  • Includes latest policy guidelines for early childhood education and features relevant discussion about social entrepreneurship.
  • To actively involve the reader ‘Reflections in practice’ are presented throughout each chapter. These reflective points capture the duality of thinking and doing, an important learning and teaching strategy for readers of this book and will be useful to unpack with a peer and/or as a team.

About the Authors

Manjula Waniganayake is an associate professor at the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University. She is a specialist in early childhood leadership, quality assurance and policy analysis work. Sandra Cheeseman is a lecturer in social policy, management and leadership at the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University.l Marianne Fenech is an Australian Research Council postdoctoral research fellow based at the Children and Families Research Centre, Macquarie University.

Fay Hadley is a lecturer at the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University with a major focus on early childhood management and practicum studies. Wendy Shepherd is the Director of the Mia Mia Child and Family Study Centre has more than twenty years of experience in leading early childhood programs. She has consistently contributed to early childhood policy reform as an invited member of key government advisory committees.


A bias perspective





I would buy this product again


I use this book for university as it is one of my compulsory textbooks. It is very informative and goes into great detail.



This book was for uni as a text book


As a university text book



great textbook


Great textbook for early childhood education, would also be a great resource for leaders in the early childhood field. Whish my director had read it.

sunshine coast Qld



3.5 4


1. Conceptualising Early Childhood Leadership
Contexts of early childhood leadership
What do we know about early childhood leadership?
Theorising early childhood leadership
Elements of leadership activity
Intentional leadership
Pivotal role of leadership in early childhood settings
Leadership and ethics

2. The Australian Policy Context
Why do I need to know about politics?
What is policy?
The Australian context
Government in Australia
Creating policy from legislation
Policy in the early childhood context
Early childhood settings
Why are governments involved in early childhood?
Australian government involvement in early childhood provision
The Australian government’s reform agenda for early childhood

3. Leading for Quality
Quality early childhood education
Overview of legal, regulatory and professional accountabilities for early childhood settings
The national quality framework
Quality from whose perspective?
Professional judgment and professional autonomy: essential tools in an intentional leader’s repertoire

4. Governance and Management Structures
What is governance?
Global contexts of governance
Early childhood management structures
Governance roles and responsibilities in early childhood
Style of governance
Role of local government in early childhood settings
Governance and human rights
Bringing together management structures and governance

5. Strategic Planning and Development
The many faces of organisational planning
The leader’s role in organisational planning and development
Strategic organisational development
Getting started—guiding beliefs and values
Developing an organisational vision
Gathering data
Including the voices of children
Collating and analysing the data
Identifying the goals, outcomes or key result areas
Developing strategies—getting everyone on board
Keeping the plan alive
Making mistakes and changing direction

6. Pedagogical Leadership
Now is the time
The importance of philosophy in pedagogical leadership
Creating a vision
How can I lead a team to facilitate better learning outcomes for children?
Getting started 99
What else can I do?

7. Leading Intentionally through Advocacy and Activism
The case for advocacy and activism
Exploring advocacy and activism: Two types of influence
Starting points for advocacy and activism
Levels of advocacy and activism
Leading intentionally through advocacy and activism
A final word

8. Power, Professional Judgment and Ethical Practice
Intentional leadership as credible and ethical
Power and relationships with children
Power and relationships with families
Power and staff relationships
Power and relationship with the governing body and regulatory authorities

9. Effective Workplaces
Creating an ethical workplace
Approaches to working with staff
Building a centre team
Mentoring as a leadership strategy
Staff policies and procedures
Recruitment, retention and professional learning
Building the organisational culture and ethos

10. Relationships with Families
What does building relationships mean?
Respectful, authentic and professional relationships
Diversity within relationships
Collaboration and decision-making processes
Professional boundaries
Online communication

11. Community Engagement
What is community engagement?
Involving families, staff and the community
Working with families and agencies in integrated ways
Networking within the sector
Networking beyond the sector
Working with the media
The leader’s role in building connections with the community

12. Money Matters
The early childhood organisation as a small business enterprise
Basic accounting language, principles and processes
Linking legislative and financial accountabilities
Understanding income and expenditure cycles
Maintaining a healthy bottom line
Avoiding pitfalls and managing risks
Windows of opportunities
13. Social Entrepreneurship and Marketing
What is social entrepreneurship?
Why do early childhood leaders need marketing skills?
What is marketing and how does the leader use social entrepreneurship as a framework?
Public relations
Funding proposals

14. Professional Growth and Career Planning
Being and becoming leaders
Understanding continuing professional growth
Why is professional learning necessary?
Professional learning and support strategies
Career pathways in early childhood
Leadership specialisations
Novice educators and induction to the profession
Succession planning

ISBN: 9780195576139
ISBN-10: 0195576136
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 262
Published: 28th September 2012
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 24.5 x 19.1  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.612