by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Reflections Magazine : Reflections Magazine Issue 55 Winter 2014
Gowrie SA comprises two Child Centres in different inner suburban locations, offering long day care and preschool programs for approximately 400 children ranging in age from birth to six years. Each Child Centre employs a four-year, early childhood degree qualified Children's Program Leader who has overall responsibility for the children's programs. These positions support all educators and, specifically, the leadership teams within each room. Leadership requirements within the current climate of government initiatives and change in the early childhood sector are increasing (Blackmore, 2010; Heikka, Waniganayake & Hujala, 2013; Stamopoulos, 2012). Educators who have decision-making responsibilities for educational practices have a role as leaders (Stamopoulos, 2012) and need to be skilled and effective in their leadership enactment (Blackmore, 2010). Gowrie SA has long valued opportunities to create environments in which aspiring leaders can learn new skills and practice these. In order to do this a leadership structure has been created which can change and evolve with the needs of the staff and the organisation. In each children's room there is a Team Leader, an Assistant Team Leader and one other educator. The qualifications held by these educators are a two-year Diploma in Children's Services or a four-year Bachelor in Early Childhood Education. In a Team Leader's absence (due to sickness, annual leave, professional development or study opportunities), the Assistant Team Leader makes the necessary leadership decisions required for the room. When this occurs, that staff member receives an additional loading to their salary called 'Higher Duties'. For some time, there was regular feedback from Team Leaders that when they were absent, the children's rooms did not function as well as they normally did. This included Assistant Team Leaders not following usual routines, avoiding leadership decisions, showing low confidence, feeling stressed and occasionally contacting the absent Team Leader for advice. This resulted in frustrations from the Team Leaders and sometimes the families and children. Both Children's Program Leaders supported the Team leaders and Assistant Team Leaders in solving problems as they arose. This support often involved telling educators what to do in particular situations, or stepping in and resolving issues for them. Over time it became clear that a different strategy was required. During a practitioner research project opportunity in 2009, Margy Whalley, a visiting speaker from the Pen Green Children's Centre in the UK, shared a model called 'dilemma stories'. Using this model, one person (the storyteller) shares a problem, issue or dilemma they are having or have experienced. When the storyteller finishes, other participants ask questions of the storyteller, both to deepen the storyteller's understanding of the different perspectives to the dilemma, as well as to deepen their own understanding of the multiple perspectives which could be considered during that, or a similar dilemma. The questioning has a focus on analysis rather than problem solving. There is no right or wrong answer, which enables the storyteller to feel comfortable throughout the process rather than feeling defensive or judged by their peers. This model demonstrates the many complexities involved in dilemmas once multiple perspectives (shown through critically reflective questions) are considered (M. Whalley, personal communication, April 14, 2009). 16 Lynne Rutherford Children's Program Leader Gowrie SA Sharing a Successful Leadership Initiative
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Magazine Issue 54