Early childhood education settings are referred to by all sorts of names; kindergarten, preschools, early learning centers, or early childhood education center (Ailwood, 2007). Irrespective of what label is used, it is known that apart from the home, the early childhood centre is where children spend most of their early years. Leadership in such places, therefore, has the potential to mold a child’s approach and appreciation of humanity. It is important for leadership at this level to create a quality learning and living environment (Carnes, 2011), in which children can be allowed to relate and interact with each other and with the caring staff, away from the hustle and hectic life of the fast-moving economy of the 21st century. After identifying some key individuals who contribute to the affairs of early childhood centres, then comes the question, who then is an effective leader? In this paper, the concept leadership and the characteristics of effective leaders of ECE centres in Ghana will be critically examined.
Concept of Leadership
The concept leadership, just like most concepts suffers a universally agreed definition. According to Deng and Gibon (2008), over 350 definitions exist for the term leadership. One that appears to capture very well the central meaning of leadership is provided by Robbins, Millet, Cacciope, & Waters (1998) who say leadership is “the ability to influence others towards the achievement of goals that contribute to a worthwhile purpose” (p. 396). This definition appears to identify an essential component among leaders, and that is ‘influence’, enabling followers to work towards the realization of organizational goals. According to Zeitchik (2012), leadership, is also to inspire others to pursue the institutions targets based on the set parameters, and to the extent it becomes a shared effort, vision, and success. On the other hand, Kruse (2013) defined leadership as a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others towards the achievement of a goal. While the definitions may vary, the general sentiment remains the same: leaders are those people who know how to achieve goals and inspire others along the way.
Characteristics of Effective Leaders of Early Childhood Education Centres in Ghana
A leader is an individual who influences his or her subordinates to work for the accomplishment of organizational goals (Kusi, 2017). People responsible for the wellbeing of children in ECE centres include; child care centre manager, administrator, coordinator, accountant, and teachers (Schein, 2005). However, in this paper, the term ‘leader’ will be used to refer to head teachers of early childhood centres.
- Quote paper
- Anthony Woode-Eshun (Author), 2021, Effective Leadership in early Childhood Education Centres in Ghana, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1153671