Curriculum and pedagogical leadership in early childhood education

Tuija Turunen, O. Ylitapio-Mantyla

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This study investigates early childhood education leaders' experiences and perceptions of curricula documents as part of their pedagogical leadership. Growing emphasis on the benefit of curriculum-based early childhood education has generated interest among researchers (Lee & Hayden, 2009, Schweinhart & Weikart, 1998). Previous studies have discussed tensions between play-based and didactic approaches as well as different learning areas in ECEC curricula (McGettigan & Gray, 2012). However, curriculum as an element of pedagogical leadership has drawn less attention. Curricula are constructed according to the principles and aims of ECEC and instruct practices. They are part of high-quality practices and inform leaders' decisions (see Young, 2014). Pedagogical leadership in ECEC can be defined through five dimensions: value, context, organisational culture, professionalism and management (Fonsen, 2014). Data for this qualitative interpretative study approach were collected through a questionnaire with open-ended questions. The respondents (n=22, one male) were in leadership positions in ECEC centres in Finnish Lapland. Informed written consents were obtained from local authorities, then the ECEC leaders were asked to respond to the questionnaire anonymously. The results indicate that curriculum has an important role in pedagogical leadership. It clarifies and strengthens the leader position. The respondents reported that diverse roles, such as supervisor, mentor and member of an inter-professional team, and social interaction and co-operation are pivotal features of designing and implementing curriculum. The results indicate that curricula documents have an important role in steering ECEC practices. This calls for more research-based political decision-making to safeguard the distinctiveness of early childhood education.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event25th EECERA Annual Conference - Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 07 Sept 201510 Sept 2015 (Conference program)


Conference25th EECERA Annual Conference
Abbreviated titleInnovation, Experimentation and Adventure in Early Childhood
OtherEECERA’s Annual Conference is the largest early childhood research conference in Europe, providing an exceptional forum and network for scholars, policy makers, researchers and practitioners. EECERA also encourages and supports cross-national collaborations and themed publications through its Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The Journal of the Association (EECERJ) is the only European early childhood journal cited in the prestigious Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). The SSCI identifies scholarship from across 50 disciplines, including ‘education’. Only the world’s leading social sciences journals are selected for inclusion in the Index.
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