In accord with emphasis made by the local government authority for early childhood services and education in Singapore, namely Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) on the importance of effective leadership in early childhood settings, this research investigated the challenges that a sample of centre leaders faced in accomplishing their roles and responsibilities. Thirty experienced centre leaders were interviewed face to face for this research. Amongst the many challenges identified were juggling administrative work and managing diverse staff while ensuring they met licensing and ECDA's quality certification requirements. These were the most pressing concerns the leaders faced. Other challenges included efforts needed in raising professionalism in the centre and in the field; the need for support in managing children with special needs and meeting the expectations of parents. In order for the leaders to overcome those challenges, management support was deemed necessary in rendering assistance especially towards administrative duties. Most importantly, the centre leaders agreed that fundamentally, they needed to improve their own mindset and work attitudes in order to progress as effective leaders. Another interesting finding of the research was that although the centre leaders felt stressed and challenged, most mentioned that they have actually gained a certain level of job satisfactions especially when seeing some of their staff grow and become better teachers and witnessing noticeable progress in the children.
Suraya Binte Saidon, SEED Institute, Singapore
Shirley Soh, Yew Chung Community College, Hong Kong
Stream: Educational Policy, Leadership, Management & Administration
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