Contemporary practice in professional learning and development of early childhood educators in Australia

Reflections on what works and why

Fay Hadley*, Manjula Waniganayake, Wendy Shepherd

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Continuous professional learning and development (PLD) is an essential component of effective practice in any profession. PLD as a professional responsibility and workplace requirement in early childhood (EC) settings is now embedded in Australian national policy. What PLD looks like and how it happens in EC settings is a hot topic both locally and internationally. Much of this discussion is associated with major reforms in the EC policy landscape. Increasingly, approaches to PLD are being documented as research inquiry in EC journals. Traditional forms of professional development delivered collectively to educators from diverse backgrounds are being questioned in terms of influencing changes in practice. This article will unpack current thinking on PLD of EC educators using research conducted in EC settings in Sydney. The article will outline what strategies were successful, and how and why these strategies enhanced practice. Adopting Hujala’s contextual theory of leadership, examples illustrate how the organisational context and the integration of individual capabilities of educators align in promoting sustained professional growth. Findings highlight the importance of adopting a strategic approach to both organisational improvement and professional advancement of educators at different stages of their careers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-202
    Number of pages16
    JournalProfessional Development in Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2015

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