1st Edition

Cultivating Leadership in Early Childhood Education and Care Trouble, Complexity and Promise

By Leanne Gibbs Copyright 2025
    136 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    136 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book redefines leadership in early childhood education, offering fresh theoretical insights and practical approaches.

    Delving into the challenges of the workforce in the early childhood education sector, this book unravels the narrative of leadership development. It underscores the importance of leadership practices in maintaining process quality within early childhood education (ECE), which significantly impacts children’s academic, emotional, and social outcomes and life trajectories. The book presents novel conceptualisations of leadership, shedding light on factors that enable and constrain leadership development through the theoretical frameworks of complexity leadership theory and the theory of practice architectures. It also provides practical strategies for cultivating leadership within early childhood organisations. Through interviews and case studies, the book brings to life the experiences of ECE leaders, amplifying important themes and experiences.

    This book is an invaluable read for educators and leaders around the world, providing inspiration and guidance for their leadership journey. It is also an empirically based must-read for lecturers and students in the higher education sector.


    Part One: Trouble

    1. We Need to Talk About Leadership in ECEC

    2. Thinking Differently About Leadership Theory and Practice

    Part Two: Complexity

    3. Dispositions for Leading: Knowledge, Skills, Values

    4. The Complex Site of ECEC: Where Leadership Happens

    Part Three: Promise

    5. Organisations Cultivating and Shaping Leadership

    6. Learning for Leading

    7. A Path Ahead


    Dr Leanne Gibbs is Senior Lecturer at Charles Sturt University. She joined CSU after an exemplary career within Australian early childhood education. Her research interests include leadership, advocacy and public policy and she has published extensively on the topic of leadership emergence and cultivation in ECE.