Aside from the teachers who have a huge impact in raising the quality of early childhood education, centre leaders and principals also play an important role in the provision of quality early childhood education service. The teachers take care of the implementation of quality service at a ground level while it is the role of centre leaders and principals to lead the teachers towards excellence. Without a great centre leader, the centre will stay as where it is. Thus, a centre leader has a major impact in improving the quality of early childhood education. What are then the qualities that centre leaders should possess that will help improve the standard of early childhood education?
Below are the five qualities that a centre principal should possess:
1. Uphold the highest values. People look highly on leaders. Hence, they should possess the highest form of integrity. When centre leaders are ethical and professional, they will have full respect from their followers. Centre leaders should inculcate the value of “do what you show” to their teachers. This means that what you show in public is what you are really doing inside, and not, showing what is not being done.
2. Visionary. Centre principals should be visionary. They should be able to visualize what the future will look like, and then, bring the whole team towards the destination. That is why they are called “LEADers” because they need to lead their team to attain their vision. It is not sitting there and just waiting for what the teachers will say before doing something.
3. Know how to identify potentials and develop them. Centre principals should know the strengths and weaknesses of each and everyone in the team. When their teachers are not performing well, they should be able to do something to develop their skills and knowledge and meet the teaching standards. On the other hand, if the teachers are performing well, they should be able to create opportunities that will maximize the potentials of these teachers.
4. Analytical and logical. Centre leaders are critical thinkers. They need to have a good thought process to solve complex issues. In addition, they should be able to assess their own decisions and look for loopholes before implementing new ideas. Ideas should be robust before introducing it to the teachers. Giving new things for the teachers to do, and then later on remove it, results to frustration as they have already wasted their precious time and effort to do it. Thus, a centre leader and principal has to make sure that they have sound decisions before rolling out any initiatives.
5. A good listener. Centre leaders listen to their followers without any judgment. If the teachers are pouring their emotions, listen, listen and listen. Listening does not mean you just hear what the teachers say and forget about it; listening is identifying what causes distress to the teachers and do something with it. Centre leaders should not take these words or actions against the teachers. Do not ostracize them. Rather, determine what was the problem, and then, address it.
Centre leaders play an important role in reaching a quality early childhood education service. It is not only the teachers who need training on how to effectively teach the children under their care. The centre leaders also need training on how to effectively lead the whole teaching staff to achieve quality early childhood education program.