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The importance of leadership and advocacy is essential in any field. In this portfolio, the focus will be leadership in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC). These leaders show different types of leadership styles and showcase different sorts of roles and responsibilities (Asree et al., 2019). They apply various strategies to fulfil those roles and responsibilities. They face challenges in fulfilling those roles and responsibilities. These educational leaders take measures to tackle those challenges by keeping the quality of leadership and education intact (Sinnema et al., 2021). These leaders show advocacy in different ways to handle different situations. All of these aspects have been understood from the point of view of Samantha who is an educational and explained what are her roles and responsibilities, her leadership style, the challenges she faces, the measures she takes to handle them through advocacy, and how she keeps the quality intact in an interview. For this portfolio, the aim will be to understand the leadership style, roles and responsibilities, challenges, measures, and review the quality explained by her.

According to Samantha, the role of an educational leader when leading the educational centre of ECEC is to focus on their overall productivity instead of just focusing on playing. These games have been integrated into the educational system to make sure that children are learning and a leader’s role is to make sure that parents understand how well those kids are performing solely from the educational point of view. It is the duty of a leader to provide resources to educators such that they can fulfil their roles and responsibilities as well (Syakur et al., 2020). Samantha explained this very well when she provided all the necessary resources to Sue for the design of the garden for the centre. It is the role of an educational leader to coach the team members to make sure they are performing at their best.

Many responsibilities have to be fulfilled by an educational leader. These responsibilities are to provide a top-tier education to the children learning at the centre, including the community members working in different fields in the activities organized by the educational centre (Craig et al., 2020). Through this inclusion, students seem to learn much more than they learn in their classes. One of the most important responsibilities of an educational leader is dividing the work and getting it done most efficiently and productively. This can only happen when a leader is inclusive. The responsibility is to focus on the institution as well because it is the means, through which proper education can be provided to children. Through this, educational leader is able to work according to the educational program integrated in the centre that aligns with NQS quality area 7 ((NQS 2022).

An educational leader must follow a specific leadership style for the smooth functioning of an institution a leader is leading. Samantha in her interview mentioned that she follows distributive and collaborative leadership. However, educational leaders commonly link these two different leadership styles together for the better functioning of the institution. Distributive leadership is defined as the way to manage different processes by sharing (Heikka et al., 2021). In this scenario, those shared things are the workload, educational content, requirements by the educators, and more. Collaborative leadership is explained by developing strategies and finding solutions, colleagues should routinely seek out a range of viewpoints (Casciaro et al., 2019). Collaborative leadership is quite effective when it comes to points like job satisfaction, employee engagement, and better formation of strategies. When linked with the traditional leadership styles, both of these leadership styles can be linked with the democratic leadership style. However, when they are applied together by educational leaders, they are more effective than the democratic leadership style. The main reason behind the application of the distributive and collaborative leadership styles in educational institutions is to make the environment more inclusive, which is suggested by Samantha as her responsibility for the betterment of children's education. This leadership style allows educational leaders to get the work done efficiently by keeping the members of the team happy as well (Yalçınkaya et al., 2021). It has been explained how roles and responsibilities were distributed between the Centre Director and Samantha. One will manage the institution and the other will manage the education of the children in the institution.

There are numerous challenges that educational leaders face. One of the major challenges for them is to manage time while fulfilling their role. Even if they somehow manage time then there are complications like regulations and policies along with handling the pressure from at least one of the parents or an educator (Einstein, 2023). This makes it quite hard for them to manage time with so many duties to fulfil. One can say that a good leader is someone who can manage this; however, it is quite hard when the leader focuses delved from the perspectives of compliance and monitoring tasks as well. From this, it is understood that the list of challenges for educational leaders can be considered unending. As per distributive and collaborative leadership, a leader must be inclusive; the issue arises when an educator is not working according to the inclusion philosophy. For example, if an educator or a parent is not ready to be included in an activity and they are required for the activity, a leader has to follow the philosophy according to the centre’s policy and regulations. It takes a lot of time for a leader to make them understand the fact that this activity cannot be organised without their help (Podolny & Hansen, 2020). A leader stuck to their leadership style and took the required measure of better communication, but the issue time remained the same. In order to take care of the time issue, educational leaders like Samantha does research on the educators and parents along with the community members to handle these types of situation in a better way so that this much of their time should not be consumed on matters like these.

The educational programs for ECEC set up by the educational leaders do not work without the cooperation of the others. It is important to understand collaboration when leading in the early childhood department. In order to achieve this, these leaders collaborate with educators; involve parents in making decisions, and interact with community members for educational purposes (Leithwood, 2021). They also research in order to keep learning how to make their leadership better as indicated by Samantha in her interview. By collaborating with educators, educational leaders identify the issues children are facing in terms of learning. They also do it by interacting with the children and their parents. It is evident that children will have problems understanding things even through the method of learning by playing games. After the identification of those issues, they make strategies with the educators to take care of them in order to enhance the learning experience of the children for their growth and development. Communicating with the community members is also very important because they are the ones from whom students can learn as well (Longmuir, 2023). Finally, they do research on the tactics they have adopted to determine their effectiveness, if educators are using them correctly, and a variety of other factors. These measures have worked very well for the educational leaders.

The term quality means a lot in the role of leadership. A leader is considered a failure if the results of their enacted strategies are not fruitful for the learning and development of the children. This is why they do so much research before applying a new strategy and do an analysis of the outcomes of those strategies beforehand. As Samantha in her interview relayed that, she did not have any idea about leadership before taking this role. However, she did thorough research on the leadership styles to identify which one will be most effective in this setting. Quality of leadership cannot be assured on a hunch; it requires this much research to get the expected outcomes (Boonstra, 2023). Identifying what would be best for children’s education and development is one of the factors in measuring the quality of a leader. If they are unable to identify what is wrong in the system and how to take care of that will degrade the quality of the leadership role. This is why, it is necessary to identify what is going on and what can be done to take care of that through research in order to maintain the top quality as a leader.

It is evident from this portfolio that educational leaders that there are ample of responsibilities of an educational leader and roles to fulfil them. These roles and responsibilities can be handled exceptionally well with the help of distributive and collaborative leadership which is a better version of a democratic leadership style. The main challenge along with many other challenges and implications is the time that they manage by doing proper research on the educators, parents, and community. Educational leaders take measures like understanding what would be beneficial for children's education and system, discussing it with teachers and parents, and through this implementing a strategy and closely monitoring it. The quality of a leadership role plays a vital role as it describes how well leaders are performing.

References

Asree, S., Cherikh, M., & Baucum, C. (2019). A review of leadership styles that affect project success. International Journal of the Academic Business World13(1), 36-46. https://jwpress.com/Journals/IJABW/BackIssues/IJABW-Spring-2019.pdf#page=44

Boonstra, J. (2023). Reflections: From planned change to playful transformations. Journal of Change Management23(1), 12-31. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14697017.2022.2151149

Casciaro, T., Edmondson, A. C., & Jang, S. (2019). Cross-silo leadership. Harvard Business Review97(3), 130-139. https://membership.amavic.com.au/files/Cross-silo%20leadership_HBR_2019.pdf

Craig, C. J., Curtis, G. A., Kelley, M., Martindell, P. T., & Pérez, M. M. (2020). Knowledge communities in teacher education: Sustaining collaborative work. Springer Nature. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=h5f6DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=These+responsibilities+are+to+provide+a+top-tier+education+to+the+children+learning+at+the+centre,+including+the+community+members+working+in+different+fields+in+the+activities+organized+by+the+educational+centre&ots=e5PgH-ijK_&sig=wo9pghTXwIcS4Z15ZWnXUl_Wfr8&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

Einstein, A. (2023). Teaching students how to learn. Educational Utopias, 227. https://assets.pubpub.org/11rd6fvz/31686042606406.pdf#page=239

Heikka, J., Pitkäniemi, H., Kettukangas, T., & Hyttinen, T. (2021). Distributed pedagogical leadership and teacher leadership in early childhood education contexts. International Journal of Leadership in Education24(3), 333-348. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13603124.2019.1623923

Leithwood, K. (2021). A review of evidence about equitable school leadership. Education Sciences11(8), 377. https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7102/11/8/377

Longmuir, F. (2023). Leading in lockdown: Community, communication and compassion in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Educational Management Administration & Leadership51(5), 1014-1030. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/17411432211027634

NQS. (2022). Quality area 7 – governance and leadership. ACECQA. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/nqf/national-quality-standard/quality-area-7-governance-and-leadership

Podolny, J. M., & Hansen, M. T. (2020). How Apple is organized for innovation. Harvard Business Review98(6), 86-95. https://empowerment.ee/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/How-Apple-Is-Organized-for-Innovation.pdf

Sinnema, C., Meyer, F., Le Fevre, D., Chalmers, H., & Robinson, V. (2021). Educational leaders’ problem-solving for educational improvement: Belief validity testing in conversations. Journal of Educational Change, 1-49. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10833-021-09437-z

Syakur, A., Susilo, T. A. B., Wike, W., & Ahmadi, R. (2020). Sustainability of communication, organizational culture, cooperation, trust and leadership style for lecturer commitments in higher education. Budapest International Research and Critics Institute (BIRCI-Journal): Humanities and Social Sciences3(2), 1325-1335. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/6c28/973e09c1799465e5daafb55c714bdc931e6c.pdf

Yalçınkaya, S., Dağlı, G., Altınay, F., Altınay, Z., & Kalkan, Ü. (2021). The effect of leadership styles and initiative behaviors of school principals on teacher motivation. Sustainability13(5), 2711. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/5/2711

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