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EDFD451 Early Childhood Leadership Management and Advocacy

Unit rationale, description and aim

There is a growing trend in Early Childhood education towards integrated early years learning centres and collaboration across all learning contexts, requiring professional leaders to have knowledge and skills in interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary leadership. 

The unit focuses on the development of knowledge and skills to support the establishment of effective leadership, management and administration practices, policies and procedures for early childhood education. Pre-service teachers will critically reflect on ways in which policies and procedures reflect State and Commonwealth legislative mandates and operate within an ethical framework. The unit is structured to provide varied opportunities for the acquisition of knowledge and awareness of processes that may assist in the building and maintaining of effective partnerships that enable leadership, management and the development of approaches that contribute toward establishing and maintaining accurate administrative practices. These processes will include strategies for collaborative leadership, effective decision making and self-awareness. Skills in communication, negotiation and conflict resolution are developed through group discussions, role-plays in simulated contexts, field-based tasks that explore home/centre/school partnerships.

The aim of this unit is for pre-service teachers to develop the required skills to engage in a research informed, practical community-based task that investigates advocacy or leadership practices in early childhood contexts and relationships.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Analyse responsibilities and strategies for decision-making relevant to positions as leaders and directors in early childhood education, including the development of policies, administrative procedures and organisational processes (GA3, GA4, GA5; APST 7.1, 7.2; ACECQA F1, F2, F3)

LO2 - Demonstrate understanding of the following in relation to leadership: professional communication skills; ethical and legal responsibilities; principles for collaborative partnerships; self-awareness as a leader; strategies for negotiation and conflict management; and effective decision-making practices (GA3, GA5, GA6; APST 1.6, 3.6, 4.2, 4.4, 7.3, 7.4; ACECQA F1, F2, F3)

LO3 - Critically review current leadership theories and analyse their relevance for early childhood education contexts (GA4, GA9; APST 2.4, 7.1; ACECQA C3, E2, F1, F2)

LO4 - Critically evaluate the roles of educators as leaders and advocates for children and families (GA3, GA4; APST 3.7, 5.5, 7.3, 7.4; ACECQA C3, D1, F1, F4)

LO5 - Demonstrate research capabilities pertinent to issues related to leadership and advocacy in early childhood settings (GA5; APST 1.2, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2; ACECQA E3, F1, F4, F5)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of legislative requirements and teaching strategies that support participation and learning of students with disability.

2.4 Demonstrate broad knowledge of, understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

3.7 Describe a broad range of strategies for involving parents/carers in the educative process.

4.2 Demonstrate the capacity to organise classroom activities and provide clear directions.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

5.5 Demonstrate understanding of a range of strategies for reporting to students and parents/carers and the purpose of keeping accurate and reliable records of student achievement.

6.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers in identifying professional learning needs.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

7.1 Understand and apply the key principles described in codes of ethics and conduct for the teaching profession.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed their ability to:

C. Teaching pedagogies:

C3  Guiding behaviour / engaging young learners

D. Family and community contexts:

D1  Developing family and community partnerships

E. History and philosophy of early childhood:

E2  Contemporary theories and practice

E3  Ethics and professional practice.

F. Early childhood professional practice:

F1  Educational leadership

F2  Management and administration

F3  Professional identity and development

F4  Advocacy

F5  Research


Topics will include:

  • Managing and leading people: interacting/communicating with families, children and staff, ethically and effectively; including - conducting effective staff meetings, working with parent committees, induction of families and staff, developing family and staff handbooks
  • Policy development including - the purpose of policy, the process of developing and revising policy, using the expertise of recognised authorities, and monitoring the implementation of policy
  • Understandings of legislative requirements, regulations, licensing procedures, quality improvement and accreditation systems affecting early childhood education and programming
  • Managing, developing and leading staff
  • Principles and concepts to guide a research informed investigation in early childhood
  • Authentic engagement in an early childhood setting leading the development of a research informed investigation on an aspect of early childhood leadership, the topic of which will be collaboratively negotiated with the setting.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit. This may involve a combination of face-to-face, online and blended delivery, on a weekly basis across a 12-week semester or in intensive mode. Students should expect to participate in a range of the following: online engagement, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations and group discussions, both online and face-to-face, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks. Some participation in appropriate educational settings maybe required.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The items of assessment are designed to provide the student with a range of opportunities to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. Tasks will be based around the development and engagement in an investigation into leadership, management and advocacy in early childhood contexts. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Investigation design and actioning

Develop the design of the investigation (including literature review). This design must be developed in consultation with the Director or Educational leader and demonstrate reflection on key elements of leadership and advocacy.

The design will be shared with other students in tutorial groups prior to submission and peer feedback will be provided. Responses to this feedback will be incorporated into the submitted assignment. Key leadership skills and practices need to be demonstrated through the group practices and engagement in the investigation context.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9

Assessment Task 2

Investigation Report

Reflection on and discussion of the implementation process (possibilities, challenges, ethical considerations, modifications to your plan).

Written analysis of the findings in relation to key elements of leadership, management and advocacy and with connections to the literature. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9

Assessment Task 3

Reflections on leadership, management and advocacy

(6 PowerPoint slides)

  • Presentation of investigation using 3 PowerPoint slides. Main insights: Your learning - the implications for your leadership practice.
  • A reflective statement that will critically demonstrate your understanding of key elements of leadership (3 PowerPoint slides) 


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Required text(s)

Australian Curriculum

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. Early Years Learning Framework

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 

Recommended references

Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., & Pence, A. (2013). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Languages of evaluation (Classic ed., Routledge education classic edition series). Routledge.

Fairchild, N. (2019). The micropolitics of posthuman early years leadership assemblages: Exploring more-than-human relationality. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 20(1), 53-64.

Heikka, J., Eeva, H., Rodd, J., Petra, S., Waniganayake, M. (2019). Leadership in early education in times of change. Verlag Barbara Budrich.

McCrea, N. (2015). Leading and Managing Early Childhood Settings. Inspiring People, Places and Practices. Cambridge University Press.

Penn, H. (2019). Understanding the contexts of leadership debates. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 20(1), 104-109.

Rodd, J. (2020). Leadership in early childhood (4th ed.) Allen & Unwin.

Sims, M., Waniganayake, M., & Hadley, F. (2019). What makes good even better? Excellent EC leadership. International Journal of Educational Management, 33(4), 573-586.

Stamopoulos, E., & Barblett, L. (2018). Early childhood leadership in action. Allen & Unwin.

Waniganayake, M., Cheeseman, S., Fenech, M., Hadley, F., & Shepherd, W. (2017). Leadership: Contexts and complexities in early childhood education. Oxford University Press.

Woodrow, C., & Busch, G. (2008). Repositioning early childhood leadership as action & activism. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 16 (1), 83-93.

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