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Early Childhood Education Management

This work is the study of the main aspects of early childhood education in terms of management and leadership. The research is based on the analysis of the management principles of a nursery school as a first step of education of every person. It is known that leadership and management are becoming a subject of research in many spheres of science and life, but leadership and management in early childhood education is accepted as one of the key elements of any organisation of high quality.

Literature review There are many scholars who discussed the abovementioned issue in their work. In my work I would like to use the articles by some of them. I consider these articles to be very essential for the study of the issue. Akerson et el (2007) state that leadership and management in any education do not have identity. The leadership and management models, which are usually applied to the sphere of education, are mostly appropriate to the management models of business world.

But this may be very confusing to those who work in education, for these models not always give answers to the real life questions. Camp (2007) says that the notion of context is a very important part of management in early child education. In our case the context is the surrounding in which the child is being raised. These are the children themselves, their parents and the nursery manager. All these three parts are united by the customer status. Children as a part of management cycle, become the means of realizing the educational expertise.

Parents become the source of the day-care for children and they are also a source of support in education and bringing their children up. Cesarone (2005) comes up with the idea that when speaking about management in early child education, it is necessary to say that sometimes there is created a conflict between a director and a teacher, or between teachers, and the director may be dissatisfied by the skills which the teacher demonstrates. There should be implemented open communication, in which teachers together with director will share their value systems, and find anything in common.

It will be very useful if they share their goals and views in open communication. Maril Olson and Marilou Hyson (2005) in their article state that the main issues of management and leadership in early childhood education are paradigms, about which I have just spoken, the action which is caused by a certain paradigm, and the environment. The environment is made up by the staff, the parents, the senior management of an early childcare establishment, and it is often that environment causes the main behaviour lines of childhood managers.

The main question of the present case study is what leadership and management strategies should be? What notions and factors should be taken into account? It is necessary to mention that the information discussed above is really useful for nursery managers if they want to be professionals and to be aware of all aspects of the work, including managing the establishment. According to Ricketts (2006) nursery manager has to know everything about early childhood education and development, not only managing issues.

It is necessary to say that real professional is broad-minded. The role of nursery manager and early childhood teacher in early childhood The nursery manager concentrates on two goals of childhood education: 1. the academic, physical, social, emotional preparing of a child for future stages of education 2. protection and care for children without parental care (Akerson et el 2007) The nursery manager is also known as early childhood teacher, early childhood caregiver, early childhood educator, etc.

nursery manager perform a great variety of functions: working with children and their parents (Camp 2007). Working with children Cooperation with children has many forms. Nursery manager should realize that it demands good knowledge, development of skills and creativity. The daily experience will be typified by life experience and sudden teachable moments. There is no place for strict treatment and constant subject learning. Nursery teacher plays many roles such as observer, evaluator, elaborator, planner, and modeller.

The choice of the role depends on the situation. It was mentioned that nursery educator must work with children “based on their knowledge of the individual child and their knowledge of how children generally develop” (Camp 2007).. The tutor should use the proper developmentally practice Here a little more should be said about the roles and responsibilities of early childhood managers in terms of the child’s development and care. I will concentrate on the responsibilities on the micro and macro level (Camp 2007).

Responsibility is always connected with management and leadership, and no one argues, that the central task of the management and leadership in early childhood care is to ‘supervise the education and care according to the basic purpose, that is taking care of well-being and human relations among children and childcare personnel’ because relation among the staff are very important in their influence on the attitudes towards children. – (Camp 2007). Speaking about the micro level of early childhood management, it should be noted, that the main functions here are the following:

1. To develop and manage the early childhood care in accordance with basic aims, which may include following the newest trends in child’s development, defining new pedagogic lines, promoting new childcare projects and taking responsibility for their outcomes, creating new pedagogy for child care together with the rest of the staff, etc. (Cesarone 2005). 2. The first function is related more to children, and the second one is connected with the working personnel.

This function implies creating harmonic and united atmosphere among the child care staff, giving them a chance to be responsible for what they do and take their own decision in everything that concerns their work with children (Cesarone 2005). It is known that nursery manager “elaborates on the child’s already present foundational bank of experiences and understandings”. Children have their own bank of observations, humour, tastes and dislikes and bring them to nursery school.

The role of nursery manager should align with valuable child’s knowledge, and his function is to enrich this knowledge without offending intelligence, cultural background or level of the child’s development (Cesarone 2005). It is necessary to state, that nursery managers are like a model for children “in all aspects of human development”, because at this time children are away from their parents or caregivers. Nursery manager influences such areas of children’s behaviour as: eating habits, self-control, gentleness, temperament and character, happiness or sadness, etc.

hostile models will create hostile characteristics which can’t encourage development of children (Cesarone 2005). The purpose of educator is to involve parents or caregivers into the educational process of their children. He has to enrich parents’ knowledge and skills, to collaborate with parents in instructions and guidelines, to advocate the increased involving of parents into the process. Manager can use such methods of communicating with parents as, for example, phone calls, newsletters, conferences for parents, etc. (Maril Olson and Marilou Hyson. 2005).

The next aim of nursery manager is to work effectively with other nursery managers, experts, administrators. It is a matter of fact that it is impossible for manager to know everything; therefore nursery managers should share necessary information about managing approaches and styles. Receiving knowledge from more experience nursery manager is positive practice for everybody (Maril Olson and Marilou Hyson. 2005). There are a lot of professional organizations for nursery managers, where they have the opportunity to meet with colleagues, to offer ideas and to obtain new information.

Nursery manager must permanently seek more information about educating from people, who “hold the highest expertise on particular areas”. Constant obtaining of knowledge allows managers to escape from stagnation (Maril Olson and Marilou Hyson. 2005). Leadership and management in any education do not have identity. The leadership and management models, which are usually applied to the sphere of education, are mostly appropriate to the management models of business world. But this may be very confusing to those who work in education, for these models not always give answers to the real life questions (Maril Olson and Marilou Hyson.

2005). The notion of context is a very important part of management in early child education. In our case the context is the surrounding in which the child is being raised. These are the children themselves, their parents and the nursery manager. All these three parts are united by the customer status. Children as a part of management cycle, become the means of realizing the educational expertise. Parents become the source of the day-care for children and they are also a source of support in education and bringing their children up (Ricketts 2006)

The main issues of management and leadership in early childhood education are paradigms, about which I have just spoken, the action which is caused by a certain paradigm, and the environment. The environment is made up by the staff, the parents, the senior management of an early childcare establishment, and it is often that environment causes the main behaviour lines of childhood managers. (Ricketts 2006) One of the main skills of early childhood manager, as of any manager, in general, is listening. A manager should be open to communication and discussion of the current issues.

He should always remember that environment plays an important part in defining management style. If he agrees to open dialogue with parents and the staff, there will appear a possibility to find common problems, solutions, goals and the means of achieving these goals. Every manager must be able to listen to the opinions expressed in relation to his management style and the general policy of the nursery establishment. (Ricketts 2006) Conclusion Taking the above mentioned theoretical issues, there should be said some words about the actual situation with childcare management.

To my mind, authoritative style in childcare management is not always appropriate, though it should be present to the reasonable extent. I guess that in manager should use his communication skills to solve the problems with parents. Listening is an integral skill for any manager, not only for those who are connected with childhood care. It is very important to understand the main ideas the speaker tries to convey. (Ricketts 2006) Authoritative style was never beneficial in any type of management. There should be applied partnership between parents, the staff and the children.

It should be said, that the term ‘partnership’ between school and home appeared in the 1960s and since that time all parents have been involved into participation in many school activities. It is already in 1985, that the paper Better Schools stated, that parents and tutors had to become partners for the common benefit of their children. In 1986 there was adopted Education Act which also increased the role of parents in managing early education for children, and by the 1988 the Education Reform Act already identified parents as the vital part in reforming the whole system of schools.

Akerson et el 2007) Managers should be more open with parents, as it is important, how childhood care managers position parents in their work. But the problem of English childhood managers, that they mostly see parents as potential supporters of schools, and rarely parents are involved into creating the curriculum, for example. This attitude should be changed towards open discussion of the parent’s ideas and values towards their children and their bringing up. Akerson et el 2007)

The early childhood care professionals take a unique position, when they may criticize and contribute into public debates as for young children, parents and families. These notions should be important parts of their professionalism, if they want to maintain their professional integrity. Akerson et el 2007) Early years professionals are in rather powerful position to ‘challenge dominant discourses among parents, families and social exclusion’. They are charged to act according to the social policy, and at the same time they are given the advantage of power towards these social policies.

And as soon as being a successful leader in early childhood care puts strong demands on the individual, early years managers should be very critical towards their professionalism, and being able to face the real life challenges. Akerson et el 2007)

References

Akerson, V. L. , & Buzzelli, C. A. (2007). Relationships of Preservice Early Childhood Teachers’ Cultural Values, Ethical and Cognitive Developmental Levels and Views of Nature of Science. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 19(1), 15+. Camp, D. G. (2007). Where Do Standards Come from?

A Phenomenological Study of the Development of National Board Early Childhood/Generalist Standards. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 21(4), 420+. Cesarone, B. (2005). Getting School Ready: A Guide for Parents and Family Members of Children Birth to Age Five, Caregivers, Early Childhood Educators, Kindergarten Teachers, Communities, Schools, and Everyone Who Touches a Child’s Life. Childhood Education, 81(5), 310 Early Childhood Educators and Child Abuse Prevention: NAEYC’s Perspective, Research Findings, and Future Actions. Maril Olson and Marilou Hyson. (2005). Childhood Education, 81(4), 250.

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