5Leadership in Early Childhood Education
overall work environment. Unfortunately, she also has a difficult time get-
ting them to buy in to some of her ideas. The lead teacher, on the other
hand, does not have a lot of information about participatory decisions,
but she really knows how to communicate with other teachers and has an
uncanny knack for guessing exactly how each of them will respond in a
particular situation. By working together and sharing an interdependence,
the director and the lead teacher can combine their skills to meet all needs.
By collaborating, the director and the lead teacher develop new leadership
skills. The director learns how to incorporate more ideas from others in her
planning, and the lead teacher learns more about participatory decision
making. In this process, each becomes more self-sufficient.
Leadership includes the recognition of individual strengths, contributions,
and responsibilities. It is a subtle process of leaders and followers influenc-
ing each other. This process combines thoughts, beliefs, values, perspec-
tives, expectations, feelings, and actions. It makes it possible for leaders and
followers to collectively achieve purposes and values they both share.
In your work with children, you can see how teachers and children con-
stantly influence each other. Everything you do is modeled and transferred
to young children, who learn by modeling and mimicking the adults around
them. At the same time, children also have their own set of thoughts,
beliefs, values, perspectives, expectations, feelings, and actions. When chil-
dren teach you what they want to happen in their learning environment,
you make adjustments so you can better meet their needs and hold their
The process is similar for leaders and followers. Both followers and
leaders have their own sets of thoughts, beliefs, values, and dreams. A
leader’s actions are a model for those who follow him, and followers are
always learning from the leader. At the same time, a good leader is also
learning what others in the group want to have happen in the organiza-
tion or on the project and how they want it to happen. He uses this infor-
mation to change policies, revise the goals of the project, and rethink how
he is leading.
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