Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The unit content acknowledges the growing trend towards integrated early years learning centres and the benefits of collaboration across all learning contexts, and the need for professional leaders to have knowledge and skills in interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary leadership. 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 advocacy. 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, and through critical reflection on practice relevant to the exploration of home/centre/school partnerships. Pre-service teachers will develop the required skills to engage in a research informed advocacy and leadership practices in early childhood contexts and to be able to engage effectively with key stakeholders.

The aim of this unit is to assist pre-service teachers to develop the knowledge and skills to support the establishment of effective leadership, management and advocacy policies and procedures for early childhood education.

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, 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 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 7.1; ACECQA F1, F2)

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

LO5 - demonstrate research capabilities pertinent to issues related to leadership in early childhood settings (GA5; APST 7.1, 7.2; ACECQA F1, 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:

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 the following specific knowledge:

D. Families and community partnerships      

D1. Developing family and community partnerships

F. Early childhood professional practice       

F1.  Leadership

F2.  Management and administration

F3.  Identity

F4.  Development advocacy

F5.  Research


Topics will include:             

  • Ethical and professional codes of conduct.
  • Advocacy on behalf of the child, the family and the field of ECEC
  • Professional attributes, skills, roles and responsibilities of an early childhood educational leader when working with families, children and staff on a local context and when working with their broader community, institutional and organisational contexts
  • Principles of effective management with group contexts: interacting/communicating with others including - conducting effective meetings, working with stakeholders, and providing accurate and well-targeted information for the benefit of others
  • 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
  • Principles and concepts to guide a research informed investigation in early childhood

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including: face to face, online and blended delivery, on a weekly or intensive basis. 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.

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 with a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

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.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

Assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 5,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: National Quality Areas – group presentation.

For this task, students are to form groups, each group is to focus upon one of the first six quality areas of the recently revised National Quality Standard (NQS, 2017) that children’s education and care services are assessed and rated against:

1. Educational program and practice

2. Children’s health and safety

3. Physical environment

4. Staffing arrangements

5. Relationships with children

6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities

Each group will be required to undertake research into the elements that are assessed in the selected quality area. As a group you will present to the class an overview of the quality area, an exemplar of what this would look like in practice and some examples of the types of issues that may need addressing in order for the standards to be met in that quality area.

Equivalent to: 1000 words


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9

Assessment Task 2 Critical reflection on Identity as a Leader and Advocate in Early Childhood,


All students will engage in a process of collaborative critical reflection and submit constructive peer feedback to others. Responses to this feedback will be incorporated and impacts on personal identity and philosophy of leadership articulated.

No more than: 1500 words


LO1, LO2, LO4

LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO9

Assessment Task 3 Research informed advocacy plan

This task explores the practice of advocacy and the strategies necessary to communicate and interact effectively with various stakeholders to lead change. Theories, models, strategies, skills, personal leadership qualities, as well as the link between leadership advocacy and the early childhood community, must be made. 

Students are required to identify a critical incident or hot topic in early childhood education and develop a research informed plan for action that advocates for the necessary change to improve outcomes. Specific reference must be made to the development and implementation of legislation, accreditation, code of ethics, policies and procedures.

No more than: 1500 words


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

LO3, LO4, LO5, LO9

Representative texts and references

Ebbeck, M., & Waniganayake, M. (2003). Early childhood professionals leading today and tomorrow. Marrickville, NSW: MacLennan & Petty.

Rodd, J. (2013). Leadership in early childhood (4th ed.) Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Colmer, K. (2008). Leading a learning organization — Australian early years centres as learning networks. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 16(1), 107-115.

Dahlberg, G., & Moss, P. (2005). Ethics and politics in early childhood education. Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge Falmer

Jones, C. (2008). Leadership and management in the early years: From principles to practice. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.

Macfarlane, K., Cartmel, J., & Nolan, A. (2012). 'Developing and sustaining pedagogical leadership in early childhood education and care professionals'. In Australian Learning and Teaching Council Grant reports, pp.1-51, Canberra, ACT: Australian Department of Education Employment and Training.

Nolan, A., Cartmel. J., & Macfarlane, K. (2012). Thinking about practice in integrated children’s services: Considering transdisciplinarity. Children Australia, 37(3). 94-99

Sumsion, J., Press, F., & Wong, S. (2012). Theorizing integrated service provision in Australia: Policies, philosophies, practices. In J. Duncan & S. Te One (Eds.), Comparative early childhood education services: International perspectives (pp. 33-55). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Waniganayake, M., Cheeseman, S., Fenech, M., Hadley, F., & Shepherd, W. (2012). Leadership: Contexts and complexities in early childhood education. South Melbourne, Vic: 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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