Pedagogical leadership among directors and deputies in early childhood settings in Australia, Finland and Norway: A summary of a small-scale study

Leena Halttunen, Margaret Sims, Marit Bøe, Karin Hognestad, Johanna Heikka, Manjula Waniganayake, Fay Hadley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pedagogical leadership in this paper is understood as a broad concept enacted within Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres. It involves several actors, and who these actors are can vary according to the country or local context. The extent to which the distribution of leadership can influence core pedagogical tasks and the quality of the settings is not yet fully understood in the early childhood sector in Australia, Finland and Norway. Although in these three countries there are other leaders at a centre level who are responsible for leading pedagogy, this paper focuses on the identification of how pedagogical leadership is shared among Centre Directors (Ds) and Deputies (DDs). Although there is some research on the Centre Director’s role in pedagogical leadership (Heikka & Suhonen, 2019), the role of a Deputy Director is vague and under researched. In addition, there is no research about how Directors and Deputies collaborate as partners when leading pedagogy. It is also yet unknown if the establishment of the roles of Director and Deputy Director creates the right conditions for cultivating pedagogical leadership.Theoretically, this paper is situated within the Practice Architectures frame developed by Kemmis et al. (2014). According to Kemmis et al. cultural-discursive, material-economic and social-political arrangements enable and constrain practices which are visible in sayings, doings and relatings. This frame locates practices within a particular site. The historical and material conditions of the site thus influence practices. Examining practices relating to pedagogical leadership across three different countries enables exploration of the impact of different contexts on practices. As a pioneering study, however, the goal is not to compare these three nations, but to ascertain insights about current developments in an area of leadership and pedagogical leadership in ECE. Qualitative in design, this study uses data via a short background survey questionnaire, content analysis of job description statements, and interviews with each participant.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPedagogical leadership in early childhood education
Subtitle of host publicationConversations from across the world
EditorsMona Saker, June O'Sullivan
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781350250505, 9781350250512
ISBN (Print)9781350250482
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • pedagogical leadership
  • early childhood care and education
  • educational leadership
  • directors
  • deputies


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