The leadership role of Australian early childhood organisations in responding to health communication during COVID-19: Lessons from elite interviews

Sandy Wong, Lauren Sadow, Manjula Waniganayake, Yvonne Zurynski, Janaki Amin, Rebecca Bull, Maria R Dahm, Sheila Degotardi, Michael J Donovan, Fay Hadley, Linda J Harrison

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, early childhood education (ECE) organisations had to source, evaluate and communicate information effectively, and implement appropriate strategies and processes to keep children, families and educators safe. Based on a knowledge brokering perspective of health communication, this chapter reports on an Australian study investigating the leadership role of ECE organisations in communicating health messages. Thematic analysis of 20 elite interviews with leaders in ECE and health organisations identified five overarching themes: (i) roles and responsibilities; (ii) sourcing and assessing information; (iii) communicating to ECE services; (iv) factors that influence effective communication; and (v) resources required by ECE organisations. Overall, the study demonstrates that ECE organisations are willing and able to communicate health messages, but require consistent, timely information that is accessible, from ‘one source of truth’, specific for the ECE sector, and contextualised for different service types and geographic locations. Closer engagement between the Health and ECE sectors, contextualised health information, and adequate leadership support and resourcing, are required to sustain effective public health messaging within the ECE sector.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly childhood education leadership in times of crisis
Subtitle of host publicationInternational studies during the COVID-19 pandemic
EditorsElina Fonsen, Raisa Ahtiainen, Kirsi-Marja Heikkinen, Lauri Heikonen, Petra Strehmel, Emanuel Tamir
Place of PublicationGermany
PublisherVerlag Barbara Budrich
Pages135-150
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783847418559
ISBN (Print)9783847426837
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2023

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