Managing Early Years Settings: Supporting and Leading Teams


Edited by: Alison Robins & Sue Callan

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    About the Editors and Contributors


    Alison Robins is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Early Childhood team within the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester and also works as an Associate Lecturer with the Open University. She is the coordinator of the Sector-endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years and was involved in the development and validation of the degree, which currently runs at six partner institutions. Alison has taught in primary and middle schools, has been a SENCO and deputy head and has worked as a Teaching Assistant Training Officer for Worcestershire Local Authority. She is the editor of and a contributor to Mentoring in the Early Years, published by Sage in 2006.

    Sue Callan has been a member of the collaborative partnership team for the Sector-endorsed Foundation Degree in Early Years at the University of Worcester for five years. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Early Childhood team within the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester and is responsible for the delivery of the programme in collaboration with Herefordshire Council Children's Services. Sue has been an adult education tutor for 18 years, specializing in community-based playwork and pre-school practice. She works with mature students in both personal tutor and mentor roles and is a contributor to Mentoring in the Early Years, published by Sage in 2006.


    Mandy Andrews is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Early Childhood team within the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester, teaching on the Early Years Professional Status routes, the National Professional Qualification for Integrated Centre Leadership, and undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Early Childhood. She was formerly Project Director of a large trailblazer Sure Start Local Programme and Early Designated Children's Centre in Cornwall. Her research interests include both leadership concerns, and children's play and empowerment issues. Such interests arise from both her academic qualification in Public and Social Administration, and her earlier employment as a local authority Children's Play Officer. Mandy has been teaching playwork and leadership skills to adults for over a decade.

    Natalie Canning is a Senior Lecturer at University College Plymouth, St Mark and St John. She is Programme Leader for the Foundation Degree in Early Years (Child Development) and teaches across a variety of early childhood undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Previously, she worked at the University of Worcester and on overseas childcare projects. Her background is in playwork and social work, particularly supporting children to explore their social issues through play. She has undertaken research in the area of children's empowerment in play and is particularly interested in children's play dispositions.

    Alison Morrall has worked with children and families in various contexts for over 25 years. She is currently tutoring for the Learning Skills Council in Herefordshire. Alison also delivers training to early years practitioners, assessing the delivery of the Language and Play programme within a variety of settings throughout Powys. She holds a BA (Hons) Degree in Integrated Early Childhood Studies, and is presently studying for a MSc in Educational Management and Leadership.

    Janet Murray is a Principal Lecturer and Head of the Centre for Early Childhood within the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester. She leads a multi-professional team delivering undergraduate and postgraduate Early Childhood programmes. She has been a tutor on the National Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership since the national roll-out in 2005 and she has a professional and academic background in health and education management as well as early years teaching. Janet has worked in the public and private sector in the UK and abroad. She contributed to Mentoring in the Early Years, published by Sage in 2006.

    Melanie Pilcher is the Policy and Standards Manager for the PreSchool Learning Alliance and has worked in early years and childcare for nearly 20 years. She is studying for a MSc in Educational Management and Leadership and previous roles include nursery manager, childcare development officer, college lecturer, early years trainer and mentor. Previous collaborations include a chapter in Mentoring in the Early Years, edited by Alison Robins in 2006 and published by Sage.

    Michael Reed qualified as a primary teacher gaining postgraduate qualifications in educational psychology and inclusive education. He held senior positions in schools and early years settings. He has worked in the private sector involved in educational training and consultancy and now works part-time as a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Early Childhood team within the Institute of Education at the University of Worcester. He is also an Associate Lecturer with the Open University and has written course materials for the OU Foundation Degree. He teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, the Foundation Degree in Early Years and the National Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership. He has written a number of publications and articles and has a particular interest in management and leadership.


    The editors would like to acknowledge the work of all contributors to this text and the practioners who have provided insights into practice. This must include Nicki Ovel, Cath Davenport, Viv Daly, Alison Murphy, Jude Simms, Carole Ellis and Claire Richards. Thanks must also go to Jude Bowen and Amy Jarrold at Sage Publications for their enthusiasm and assistance throughout this project.

    We would also like to thank all the staff, children and parents at the Green Croft Children's Centre, Hereford for allowing us to take the photographs used throughout and John Lusardi for his photographic skills.

    This book is written for the dedicated and highly motivated early years professionals and the children and families with whom they work.

    AlisonRobins and SueCallan
  • Glossary of Terms

    AdvocacyThe active support of a cause on behalf of another.
    Children's Centre(s)Contexts within which children under five years old and their families can receive seamless integrated services and information, and where they can access help from multi-disciplinary teams of professionals.
    Collegiate supportSupport provided within teams where members are understood to have an equal standing.
    CPDContinuing Professional Development.
    Critical friendA trusted colleague who can provide support and comment in a constructively critical manner.
    CWDCChildren's Workforce Development Council.
    DCSFDepartment for Children, Schools and Families.
    ECMEvery Child Matters.
    Emotional intelligenceDeveloping self-awareness and understanding of the impact our emotions have on ourselves and others.
    Emotional literacyThe ability to perceive, understand and express feelings in a non-judgemental way, including skills for emotional control and awareness that enable relationships with others.
    Extended SchoolsExtended Schools work with the local authority, local providers and other schools to provide access to a range of integrated services.
    EYFSEarly Years Foundation Stage.
    EYPSEarly Years Professional Status.
    FamilyAny environment that provides facilities, continuity and nurture as the child progresses to maturity. There is no assumption that any particular way of constituting the family is of more value; we accept the notion proposed by Pugh and De'Ath (1989) that a family is simply what you find behind the door and that variation whether by chance or choice is now the norm.
    Group dynamicsThe forces and interactions that occur when people come together.
    High self-monitoringPeople who monitor and change their behaviour to fit different situations thinking that this is what people want to hear.
    Home-StartA charitable organization that provides support and advice to families of children under five.
    Hot qualitiesA range of skills needed to foster a proactive and visionary culture within a setting.
    Inclusive practiceInclusive practice is about participation, collaboration and including people: where individuals are fully involved in choices and decisions that affect their lives and in the matters that are important to them.
    Inspirational leadershipA subjective perspective of interactions, intentions, emerging and established relationships and proactive responses to a variety of situations.
    Leader/ManagerThose responsible for practice and the organization of services to support the children in their care.
    Low self-monitoringPeople who are consistent in their behaviour, thinking and actions across all types of interactions with other people.
    Management of changeA structured approach to change in individuals, teams, organizations and societies.
    Market economyAn economic system in which decisions about costs are guided solely by the service providers and consumers with little government intervention or central planning. This is the opposite of a centrally planned economy, in which government decisions drive most aspects of economic activity.
    MenteeA mentee is the recipient of support, advice and information from a mentor.
    MentorAn experienced and trusted adviser, usually someone who works or who has worked in the field of early years and is able to offer advice and support.
    MentoringNurturing of an individual's potential through a supportive relationship with a mentor.
    Multi-disciplinaryRelating to, or making use of, several professional disciplines at once.
    NPQICLNational Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership.
    OfstedOffice for Standards in Education.
    ParentsRelating to the role described in law – mothers, fathers, carers and all those who have taken on this role in children's lives, either temporarily or as a biological family.
    Participatory managementThe practice of empowering employees to participate in organizational decision-making.
    Partnership with parentsPartnership is distinct from ‘involvement’. It characterizes a working relationship based on mutual respect, openness, democracy and sharing information or experiences in order to promote equality and avoid discriminatory practice for children and their families. It is recognized that an ‘ideal’ model is proposed and that there may be constraints in some roles or settings to achieving this in practice.
    PedagogyThe science and principles of teaching children based on the characteristics of children as learners.
    Post-modernist societyModernism refers to historical attitudes and beliefs resulting from political and social movements within the 20th century. Post-modernism refers to themes and debates emerging from and superseding these ideas within contemporary society.
    PractitionersThe adults who, as ‘secondary carers’, support children's learning across a range of settings. A person practising a profession – in this case, a person working within the field of early years.
    Reflective practiceThe art of analysing what has been, how it was done, and why it was done in that way. This analysis is then used to inform future practice.
    SENSpecial Educational Needs.
    SettingsThe range of contexts in which children are the recipients of early childhood services.
    Social capitalMaking connections with and between social networks to develop shared interests, mutual trust and group collectiveness within a community.
    Social cohesionDifferent people coming together with willingness to exchange ideas and share experiences to engage in collective participation.
    StakeholdersInterest groups within services, for example, children, parents, practitioners and service providers.
    TeamsTeams are groups of practitioners that the leader/manager has contact with on a day-to-day basis. In Integrated Children's Centres, the team will include professionals from various agencies based within the setting, those with whom practitioners work towards a common goal of positive outcomes for the child. Parents can usefully be included in the broad definition of ‘team’.
    Transactional approachAn approach to understanding behaviour by analysing the ‘transactions’ or interactions which occur between people.
    Transformational leadershipTransformational leaders start with a vision that will excite and convert potential followers. They take opportunities and use effective strategies to lead others towards this vision. This takes dynamism and enthusiasm and, in effect, they are selling themselves as well as the vision.
    Value bondsDeveloping an ethos which is inclusive of individual needs, group beliefs and leadership ideals.


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