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Analytical case study of an early childhood service Essay

         Cook Primary School is situated in Canberra in the small Belconnen suburb of Cook and suitable for every child from kindergarten to Year 6 of this district – Analytical case study of an early childhood service Essay introduction. As the neighborhood school in a well established suburb, they have developed a mutually caring atmosphere to a degree not readily attainable in other schools. According to Owens (2001) Systems can be divided into two main classes: “open” systems, which interact with their environments, and “closed” systems, which do not interact with their environments. Cook Primary School is “open” system and this supports the main state idea of social justice.

Management

More Essay Examples on Childhood Rubric

By Maddock & Woods (1994) Management has a lot of definitions, but all of them are talking about planning, organizing and controlling/evaluating.

Blackstone (1974) says that there are preconditions underpin early childhood care and education – an acceptance of a definite stage of childhood before compulsory school begins, a child-centered attitude that values young children and sees them as worthy of special arrangements, and a belief that it is in the child’s best interests to spend some time outside the home.

            Lewis, J. P (1995) says that one must plan in order to control. That is why planning and control have been called Siamese twins-you cannot separate them. Planning is done only so that control can be achieved. No need to do it otherwise. Since control is comparing progress to plan, without the plan there is no control. Between planning and control there is a way from one to another – organizing of process.  Management of the school is organized accordingly ordinary process of planning, organizing and controlling of the school’s activities.

Planning

            By Jones & Nailon (1984) there are 3 basic models of Early childhood service centers, defined by type of financing of organization: private sector model (centers privately owned and operated as “for-profit” business);  public sector model (centers most management decisions rests with a government department or authority); community management model (other management decision-making structures include the voluntary and community organization model). Financing planning at Cook Primary School based on governmental money, fundraising and parents’ volunteer money for school funds.  parents’ volunteer payment is $50 per child or $70 per family and with help of fundraising it raised nearly $10,000 per year.

            Information and resources management supported with set of computers at school. This leads the Operational planning at Cook primary school supported with periodical newsletter and cook school website, which also helps to attract new clients to the school and can be considered as a part of marketing strategy. Also for these purposes records of meetings at Cook primary schools are displayed to be read.

            Curriculum planning at Cook primary school designed on philosophy of gardener intelligence theory and involving problem solving and thinking independently.  Staff at school selected on qualifications, there are no gender or cultural issues. All stuff have responsibilities according their qualifications, but equal with others with same qualification.

Organizing

            Process of children’s development at school is a socio-cultural process. By Thompson & Strickland (1997) the socio-cultural process recognizes that each step of the process is influenced by human factors and interrelationships. Specifically, the socio-cultural process relates to the ability and enthusiasm of staff throughout the organization of process. But by Stephens (2001) Whether interacting with children, parents, or each other, how well staff meet their job challenges ultimately makes or breaks a program’s image and reputation. So, trainings for school personnel are constantly needed as a part of organizing of educational process.

            At concerned school process of education and growing-up the children is organized with community involvement. The school community at Cook Primary School is considered to include students, staff, parents, carers and community members. Participation by members of the school community in a wide range of activities is encouraged by the Principal and staff, School P & C (Parents and Community) and School Board, for the practical assistance it offers and the sense of community spirit that develops.

Cook Primary school is a governmental school. All government schools in the ACT have a School Board, which is comprised of the Principal, parent representatives, teacher representatives and a community representative (appointed by the ACT Department of Education and Training). (High schools and colleges also have student representatives on their Boards). The Board’s two main roles are: “to develop the school’s policies (which must be consistent with the Department’s policies, and to approve the school’s Budget” (Ref. Schools Authority 1973).

Control

            Control consists of comparing where you are to where you are supposed to be, then taking corrective action if there is a discrepancy. The old connotation implied authoritarianism, domination, the control of people. Another meaning, however, is the comparing progress to planned performance, then correcting for deviations. (Lewis, 1995) At Cook Primary School except standard control on educational organization from the government, there are also opportunities for community and students to be aware of how the process of education is going on. Parents are a part of community and they can come to teachers and ask them if child is targeting the aims of education. For control from the students’ side there organized a Student Representative Committee, which can take care about students’ rights at school.

            At each monthly meeting of the Cook School Board, the Board approves the Finance report, which records (under about 50 headings such as Curriculum, Minor Maintenance, and Telephone) the school’s expenditure for the year so far, and if necessary the budget is adjusted.

The Board also drafts and reviews the school’s policies from time to time, especially when prompted by a particular issue or incident. There are many Department policies to which the school must adhere, but Cook School also has its own policies on Gender Equity, Protocol for Raising Concerns, Class Sizes, etc.

            There are constant controlling and monitoring of health, safety and nutrition (medical tests, healthy food for after school care children at school, anti bullying rules) at Cook primary school. These procedures are visible, accountable and contribute to the goals of the organization.  Results of controlling available for parents and community.

Leadership

            Comparing with management, which purpose is to attend the details of efficiently running a program, leadership oriented to the broader issues and future development (Humphries & Senden, 2000). Rodd (1998) says that Leadership can be described as a process by which one person sets certain standards and expectations and influences the actions of others to behave in what is considered a desirable direction. Leaders are people who can influence the behavior of others for the purpose of achieving a goal.

            At Cook Primary School leadership qualities are developing not only in teachers, but in children too. Teachers are presented as managers of classes and obliged to coordinate the process of education with parents and from the other hand be professional advisors for them. In other words, staff and community work together and take on responsibility. This helps staff to develop leadership qualities among adult persons. Students at school also have opportunity to develop their leadership qualities. This means not only by participation in a Student Representative Committee. At this school there created conditions to behave themselves freely in formulating their opinions and talking about it. This is a nice step for children to became leaders and in childhood and in adult life. Discussing of issues of a student at Cook primary schools created in “down-top” way: first issues discussed with teacher, then principal, and later the state or government.

            Historically it arisen that schools, especially for early ages are closed systems and this approach was provided for a long time. Nowadays situation is changed and leadership is considered as a part of professional role of teacher. There appears a problem for personnel to become leader among adult persons. By Rodd (1998), as ‘leaders’ of young children, they are competent, confident and effective and appear to have considerable skill in getting children to do what they want. However, early childhood professionals appear to be somewhat uncomfortable perceiving themselves as directors, coordinators or leaders of groups of adults, be they staff or parents within a single centre or relevant professionals and other adults in the community. Sergiovanni (1984) defined following kinds of leadership: Empowerment (authority and obligation), Enablement (means and opportunities) and Enhancement (interweave). Jorde-Bloom & Morgan (1997) defined Leadership in the early childhood field to be more a result of groups of people who work together to influence and inspire each other rather than the efforts of one single person who focuses on getting the job done.. That is why third kind of leadership – Enhancement (interweave) seems more suitable for personnel of primary school.

            Solution for problem of absence of leaders in early childhood appears in ECS personnel development or in-service training. Hallinger (1999) outlined 3 norms that facilitate the capacity of schools to learn: collegiality, experimentation and reaching out the knowledge base. As mentioned before, school, especially for early age, is a very closed and conservative system, staff use methods and knowledge from ages of it’s’ experience and practically stuck in routine. This don’t suit modern times when everything changing very fast and personnel of primary school can base on experience, but must look into future and seek for development of their knowledge basis and professional skills. New knowledge and experimentation can help teachers to find new interest in their work, collegiality is needed to share the experience and move the development of school forward. Thus, for targeting demands of modern life, teachers ought to be “continuing learners” and main learner in school has to be the principal of school to lead others effectively and efficiently.  Widener (2002) defined following compulsory features of leaders, which are suitable for leaders of any kind of organizations and must be accepted for leaders of early childhood if primary school is considered as equal participants of infrastructure of modern life: good communication skills, prediction of end result, ability to define goals for self and others, ability to set strategy and course of action, ability to teach others, ability to inspire others, ability to delegate the tasks. Some of these compulsory features are natural for profession of primary school, some of them need further development, concerning the most suitable kind of leadership in early childhood – Enhancement (interweave), but it is obvious, that  leadership in early childhood service can reach same level of development as leadership of any other type of service.

Policy

Main external ability of educational leaders is to participate in educational policy making processes. Colebatch (1998) defined three central elements in using term “policy”: authority (decision making), expertise (bringing the power) and order (system and consistency). Authority legitimates the policy, and policy questions flow to and from authority figures: the Minister. The General Manager, the Executive Committee (Colebatch 1998). Policy regulates the issues of safety and security of children, the limits of their behavior, individual and developmental levels among children, provides estimation and control of personnel. (Farmer, 1995). Also policy sets limits on the behavior of officials, provides an universal application of their decisions. Colebatch (1998). Past two decades increasing number of children were spending large chunks of their lives in child care and some form of quality assurance was required (Foreword, NCAC, 1333). To make order in educational curricula of existing ECS centers Government is used the authority to introduce outcomes-based system of accreditation (expertise) for educational organizations.

Traditionally early childhood educators have experienced considerable autonomy in planning and enacting early childhood curricula, so traditionally curricula for early childhood was constructing in “bottom-up” way; after Government introduced new system of accreditation, way of regulation the child care field was formulated at the national level and disseminated “down” to this field throughout Australia, so this was a setting of “top-down” way (Grieshaber, 2000).  New system is proved economically and has its aim to make order in early childhood educational system, but totally unusual for educators in curricula perspective. Introducing of this system, Government also meant to make the most cost-effective decisions (Taylor et al., 1997) and made a step to move early childhood service to marketplace, to make them compete each other and attract clients.

At school there are accepted following local policies: Bullying and Harassment; Homework; Class Formation; Student Management. At Cook School children are encouraged to talk openly about issues of bullying and harassment individually and at class meetings and Student Representative Council. Their awareness of what constitutes harassment and what they can do about it is raised by our teaching practices. Strategies to combat bullying are taught through such means as the Department’s Protective Behavior Program.

            Homework at Cook School plays an integral part in the education process. It provides a link between school and home and also gives parents the opportunity to reinforce the importance of learning, not only at school, but in the home environment as well. This corresponds to the Parents policy, outlined by Decker & Decker (1988), they say that Parents policy may comprise ways of meeting parents’ needs for participation and education.

            During Term 4 each year, all teachers are involved in the process of making educational judgments about the class placement of each individual student for the following year. Adjustments may be made to these classes at the beginning of the school year to take into account changes in enrolments that occur during the summer vacation. Homogenous classes at Cook are formed to provide for the educational needs of the children in the best possible way and to take optimal advantage of the resources available. Children never appear in schools in neat groups of 30 and composite classes will usually be formed at Cook with two year levels. This supports the Health policy by Decker & Decker (1988), which believes that may cover evaluation of children before admission, daily admission, care or exclusion of ill children, health and safety education, and Child-personnel policy: maximum group (class) size, child-staff ratio, attendance, program services and provisions for child welfare.

            Student management. Cook School strongly supports the Education Department’s policies relating to social justice issues. They aim to foster a climate of tolerance and equity. They positively acknowledge ethnicity and gender and children are encouraged to respect and value individual differences. Within the small school environment they promote co-operative learning in the classroom and co-operative play in the playground. This helps to achieve aims of Public relation policy by Decker & Decker (1988): participation by the public and communication with the public, i.e. to teach children to communicate with others.

                According to Behavior Management Policy by Farmer (1995), Staff must use a positive approach to guidance and discipline. Staff ought to have a clear set of realistic guidelines for

children’s behavior, developed in consultation with parents. Staff works with children

to develop self-discipline and to achieve positive behavior. At Cook Primary School, staff and children together work out the rules, based on the school’s Behavior Management Policy. The prime considerations are safety, freedom from harassment and respect for self, each other, the environment and the facilities. Children with behavior problems are either redirected to another activity or spoken to by a member of staff. In extreme circumstances, the Director and the Committee have the right to exclude any child whose behavior continues to be unsatisfactory.

Conclusion

            By Farmer (1995) All children need to feel safe and secure in any environment and children must feel safe and secure and know the limits on their behavior. Early childhood field as any other field of modern community needs its own policy, management decisions and system of leadership. Policy, management and leadership are very important, because all of them work to develop skills of children and are prepare them to compulsory school.

Cook Primary School has effective management, leadership and policy structure, but they have to improve their policies by increasing the number of them, including new ones and put more of their activities on the basis of policy. Also they have to improve their strategic planning of their development (development of their servise) and human resource management, if they want to be successful business organization. Concerning conditions of market economy, attracting new clients is possible only with increasing of the level of services.

References

Blackstone, T. (1974). Some Issues concerning the development of nursery education in Britain. Pedagogica Europe. 9(1)

Colebatch, H. K (1998). Policy. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Decker, C. A., & Decker, J. R. (1988). Nature and Scope of Policies in Decker, C. A. & Decker, J. R, Planning and administering early childhood programs, Columbus: Merrill

Farmer, S. (1995). Policy development in early childhood services. Newtown, NSW: Community Child Care Co-operative.

Foreword, NCAC (1333) (see Grieshaber (2000), p.#2)

Grieshaber, S. (2000). Regulating the early childhood field. The Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 25(2), 1-6.

Hallinger, P. (1999). Schools as learning organizations: framework and assumptions. The Practicing Administrator, 21(1), 6-8, 41-43.

Humphries, E., and Senden, B. (2000). Leadership and change: A dialogue of theory and practice. Australian Journal of Early Childhood. 25(1), 26-31.

Jones. A. & Nailon. D. (1984). Comity management in early childhood services.

Australian Early Childhood Association Resource Booklet, No. 1. Watson: AECA.

Jorde-Bloom, 1997 (see Rodd(1998) p.#4/125)

Lewis, J. P. (1995) Fundamentals of Project Management. New York: AMACOM

Maddock, T. H.& Woods, J., eds (1994). Theory research and action in educational administration. Hawthorn, Vic: Australian Council for Educational Administration.

Morgan (1997) (see Rodd(1998) p.#4/125)

Mukhi. S., Hampton. D., & Barnwell, N. (1988). Australian management. Sydney: McGraw-Hill.

Owens, Robert G. (2001). Organizational behavior in education : instructional leadership and

school reform. Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Rodd, J. (1998). Leadership in early childhood: The pathway to professionalism. Second Edition. St Leonards, NSW: Allen and Unwin

Sergiovanni, T. (1984) Leadership & excellence in schooling. In J. Hayden (ed.) Management of Early Childhood Services: An Australian Perspective. Wennvorrh Falls, NSW: Social Science Press.

Stephens, Karen (2001) Creative staff training is key to quality. Child Care Information Exchange. (142), 27-30.

Taylor, S., Rizvi, F., Lingard, B. & Henry, M. (i997) Educational Policy and the Politics of Change. London: Rourledse.

Thompson & Strickland 1997 (see Viljoen, J., & Dann, S (2000), p#57)

Viljoen, J., & Dann, S (2000). Strategic management: Planning and implementing successful corporate strategies. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia

Widener, Chris (2002). Top skills of extraordinary leaders. The Practicing Administrator. 24(3), 10

Cook Primary School – Cenberra, Australia. http://www.cookps.act.edu.au/

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