Playcentre leadership: A learning story

Author: Carleen Mitchell

Playcentre leadership: A learning story

Carleen Mitchell
12 May 2020

Mitchell, C. (2019). Playcentre leadership: A learning story. (A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice).


Research into leadership in early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand is in its infancy. At this early stage, distributed leadership has been identified as the most common style of leadership used in teacher-led early childhood education and care services. However, as a parent-led early childhood service in Aotearoa New Zealand, Playcentre uses emergent leadership. While some Playcentres have session facilitators, these positional leaders do not distribute leadership roles; the leadership is shared rather than distributed. This sharing of leadership removes power from roles therefore, those that come through Playcentre often don’t see themselves in leadership roles and downplay the knowledge, skills, and experience they are gaining. This enquiry sets out to develop a leadership framework for reflecting on leadership skills gained through Playcentre, and to gain an understanding of which are transferable to a range of other leadership roles, for example leadership in tertiary education. Action research is used to develop the Playcentre Leadership Framework. To examine the viability of this framework along with my leadership skills, an autoethnographic case study method was employed. The enquiry found the leadership framework evolved into a matrix for examining leadership practice along with giving insight into personal leadership practices. The leadership matrix provides scope for Playcentre Leaders and other early childhood education leaders to gain insight into their leadership, and develop a leadership framework of practice.

Keywords: playcentre, leadership, early childhood education, Te Whāriki

Carleen's research was supervised by Glenys Ker and Jo Thompson.


This thesis is publicly available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International License.

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