Currently, there is a gap in the literature highlighting the need for professional development in the form of mentoring support for first-year directors in Early Childhood Education (ECE).
The primary purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of first-year ECE directors who took part in the California Early Childhood Mentor Program (CECMP) during the 2015–2016 school year. Participants came from the northern and northeast regions of the CECMP. Using a narrative approach guided by personalized stories, along with in-depth one-on-one interviews, this study focused on the experiences of four protégé directors who engaged in a mentoring relationship with an experienced director mentor. By situating the protégés’ experiences within a 4-path framework of Analyzing, Advancing, Acting and Accelerating, this study investigated the impact of the mentoring relationship on addressing challenges and leadership development in an ECE program.
Findings from this study revealed that when the elements of supportive guidance, supportive resources, self-reflection and supportive relationships are in place, first-year directors can become equipped to address challenges and develop the capacity for leadership. The ECE field must continue to promote the provision of systemic and relevant leadership training and mentoring in order to grow leaders and to sustain leadership capacity. Implications of this study reveal the need to incorporate a professional development system for emerging and future first-year directors that recognizes effective leadership as a vital component to the success of children, staff and families.
Recommendations for policy include increasing federal funding for mentoring and leadership training programs and the provision of options for an ECE director credential similar to the Clear Induction Tier 2 Standards put forth in K-12 for first-year principals. Recommendations for practice highlight the need for mandated mentoring hours as well as prolonged engagement in quality leadership development programs leading up to the first-year directorship. Recommendations for future research include the use of quantitative survey instruments to determine if first-year directors with mentors identify this study’s findings as significant in a mentoring relationship.
|Advisor:||Slater, Charles L.|
|Commitee:||Scott, James W., Villegas Gallegos, Noemi P.|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education, Early childhood education|
|Keywords:||Early childhood, First-year directors, Mentoring, Protege, Relationship, Support|
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