What is an Educational Leader?
An Educational Leader (EL) is a designated person who will lead the development and implementation of educational programs in the centre.
What is the role of an Educational Leader?
The EL would be the advocate for developing a vision for child leaning and curriculum development which is complementary to the NQF and for the vision of the centre. The EL would seek to develop skills of all educators in areas of documentation, planning, observation, reflective practice, intentional teaching, pedagogy and play based learning.
Are educational leaders really necessary?
There are requirements within the National Quality Framework to have an appointed educational leader. The requirement for an educational leader is outlined in NQS 7.1 and NQS 7.1.4.
NQS 7.1 Effective leadership promotes a positive organisational culture and builds a professional learning community.
NQS 7.1.4 Provision is made to ensure a suitably qualified and experienced educator or co-ordinator leads the development of the curriculum and ensures the establishment of clear goals and expectations for teaching and learning.
This position needs to be formally designated in writing as outlined in Section 118 Education and Care Service National Regulations.
Why don’t all co-ordinators just take on the role?
Consideration to the appointment as an EL should be based on the co-ordinators ability to dedicate sufficient time to be successful with this extra role. Larger centres may have the resources to delegate this position to a suitable educator and alleviate the extra duty from the co-ordinator.
Using an educator in the role of an EL, would allow the separation of duties between administrative and educational programming which may arguably, allow the program to develop further with the dedicated resources of an independent EL.
Anecdotally services who have a dedicated EL have reported that their ability to produce documentation and develop a dynamic and successful curriculum have been assisted by making this role separate from other roles.
What attributes should an educational leader have?
Attributes of an educational leader would include:
- a desire and passion to develop and promote curriculum,
- to have an excellent understanding of the relevant framework for their setting,
- to be approachable and collegial in their approach to curriculum with peers,
- create opportunity for sharing of ideas and the development of excellent practice,
- to be willing and able to provide support to different people taking into consideration different learning styles,
- to have an understanding of the NQS and regulatory standards.
NOTE: There is no educational requirement set by the National Quality Standards for educational leaders, however a sufficient level of experience in their current setting would be beneficial to the role.
What strategies should an educational leader employ?
- Setting high expectations for teaching and child learning.
- Ensure quality recording of documentation and assessments to guide program development.
- Provide a system which ensures continuity of learning throughout the centre.
- Maintain accurate and up to date documentation for each child’s learning and progress for NQF outcomes.
- Be proactive in opening discussions around reflective practice and relating learning to the framework.
- Communicate with families about the development of the education program for their child and in general.
- Provide advice for educators where appropriate / necessary to improve interactions and intentional teaching practice.
- Link the program with local community organisations and groups where opportunity exists for cultural learning.
As an educational leader what should I be doing?
- How can you develop the skills and capacity of educators in a way that leads to improved outcomes for children?
- How are you creating opportunities for professional conversations about curriculum, achieving learning outcomes for children, pedagogy, child directed learning, intentional teaching, scaffolding and goal setting?
- What opportunities are exploited to share the collective knowledge of the team?
- How do you promote learning and development to families?
- What sources do you use or have been implemented to obtain opinions about programming from educators, families and children?
- How do you respond to feedback to help guide programming decisions?
- What strategies and processes are you using to lead the development of the curriculum?
- Are you setting goals for teaching and learning for educators and children?
- Are there any current studies or educational strategies which can be applied to your setting?
Educational leaders are integral to ensuring a consistent approach to improving curriculum for improved learning outcomes for children. The EL requires a clear vision to develop high expectations and an ability to work with educators to achieve the vision for the service.