Understanding and Measuring Leadership in Center-Based Early Care and Education to Inform Policy and Practice
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
The brief highlights key findings from the literature review:
- Distributed leadership recognizes the participation of teaching staff and families in leadership, along with center managers, and it can flourish in a variety of formal management structures based on a supportive center culture and good internal communication.
- An individual’s values and beliefs, in combination with their education, training, and experience, can influence their participation in center leadership and what they are able to do as leaders.
- Leadership practices that might support positive outcomes in center-based early care and education (ECE) settings fall into five categories that include: (1) instructional quality practices; (2) relational coordination practices among center-based staff; (3) relational coordination practices with families and the community; (4) strategic practices, and (5) operational practices.
- Center managers improve children’s learning by building a positive organizational climate and relational trust with teaching staff.
- Involving teaching staff as leaders is important to improving quality and child outcomes.
The purpose of the literature review was to understand what is known about what leadership looks like in center-based early care and education settings and how it functions to improve center quality and, in turn, children’s experiences and outcomes. This brief highlights findings from the literature review to inform policy and practice.