Why does leadership development matter?

by Teri Talan

November 5, 2014

What makes an early care and education program effective? What shifts an early childhood organization into a dynamic learning organization not just for children, but for families and staff as well? What turns a particular early childhood organization into a great place to work? The answer to each question is the same—leadership, leadership, leadership.

Strong leadership is a vital component of any thriving organization. While there is general agreement about the importance of strong leadership in early childhood programs, there has been little research on effective models of leadership development for program administrators, especially those in the child care sector.

I invite you to read the McCormick Center study published by Early Childhood Research & Practice. You’ll learn how Taking Charge of Change, a leadership development program preparing early childhood  administrators in Illinois for more than 20 years, resulted in personal growth and self-efficacy, a range of organizational improvements, and positive program outcomes such as accreditation, QRIS participation, and low rates of staff turnover.

In what types of leadership development do you participate? What reflections do you have from these experiences? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Dr. Teri Talan is Director of Policy Initiatives at the McCormick Center and Professor of Early Childhood Education at National Louis University. She promotes action by state and national policymakers on early childhood workforce and program administration issues.
Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP), an Internet-only journal, features articles related to the development, care, and education of children from birth to approximately age 8. ECRP emphasizes articles on practice-related research and development; issues related to practice, parent participation, and policy; and emerging practices and issues.

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