Defining and Promoting Effective School Leadership for Early Childhood Education

Public Policy; Early Childhood Education; Education Policy

School leadership is central to school quality and student learning, but there is limited information in early childhood education (ECE). We will examine leadership qualities of ECE principals.

Research Interests
  • School leadership
  • leadership in early childhood education
  • early childhood education policy

School leadership is widely recognized as central to school quality. Recent research has identified a link between weak school leadership and poor student learning (Bloom et al, 2015; Branch et al. 2013). In Texas, for example, a 1-standard-deviation increase in principal quality translated into approximately 0.05 standard deviations in average student achievement gains, or the equivalent of almost two months of additional learning.

However, there is limited information available on school leadership for early childhood education and how to strengthen leadership to support this critical period in children’s learning and development. Because pre-primary education is growing rapidly in both the US and in developing countries, an understanding of effective school leadership characteristics and training models is needed. This project will draw on expertise in leadership from different disciplines to lay the groundwork for understanding the leadership capacity of school principals working in early childhood education. Lessons will then be applied to a current project assessing the effectiveness of a principal leadership training program in Zimbabwe.


Desired outcomes

Critical leadership qualities for principals working in early childhood education identified

Principal training program for Zimbabwe designed and implemented

Evaluation of principal training program completed