Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


5.4 SOCIOLOGY, Sociology, Demography, Anthropology, Social topics, Social work.

Publication Details

Submitted to the Technological University of Dublin in part fulfilment of the requirements leading to the award of Master of Arts in Mentoring, Management and Leadership in the Early Years


Leadership in an Irish Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) context is a new and emerging ideology at a policy and practice level. This study aimed to gain an understanding of the conceptualisations of leadership held by early childhood teachers who work directly with children in Ireland. This study explored the associations of leadership held by participants, recognition of leadership potential and attributes of effective leadership; through an interpretivist paradigm. Within this paradigm, a qualitative research design was selected to capture the lived experiences of leadership of participants. Six semi-structured interviews we completed with early childhood teachers from rural Ireland. The findings were extracted from the data collected using a thematic analysis, the themes which were established were shared leadership, development of others, characteristics of effective leadership, relational leadership and challenges of the profession. Overall the study identified a conceptualisation of leadership as a shared entity or co-leadership among early childhood teachers, which is reflective of the national policy agenda currently. Furthermore, the reciprocal nature of relationships was also a key factor in effective leadership in ECEC settings.