The absence of a well-funded, comprehensive approach to the support and delivery of early learning and care brings with it particular human resource challenges for community-based early childhood education and care organizations. Thus, while research clearly shows the importance of a well-trained staff in the delivery of quality services, the current low rates of pay, demanding work environments and the absence of supports and infrastructure make it difficult for organizations to attract and retain well-qualified staff: a situation made even more difficult by the recent economic booms in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Preliminary research identifies management and leadership as particular areas of concern. The relatively small size of most early learning organizations means that the executive director performs a variety of roles including program manager, organization leader and community and stakeholder liaison – that demand a broad array of competencies. And yet, in many cases, staff members assume management or leadership roles with little opportunity to develop the skills required to effectively manage or lead organizations.
Foundation Supported Work
The Foundation is currently working with early childhood education stakeholders in Alberta and Saskatchewan to consider how the management and leadership challenges might be best addressed. The Foundation proposes to document the results of this work in a discussion paper which could provide the basis for wider consultations on management and leadership development in charities and not-for-profit organizations that deliver early childhood education and care.