Early Childhood Education

McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership

 

The McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National- Louis University, Wheeling, Illinois, is dedicated to enhancing the professional orientation, management skills, and leadership capacity of early childhood administrators. The activities of the center encompass four areas:

• Training to improve the knowledge base, skills, and competencies of directors who administer early childhood programs;

• technical assistance to improve program quality;

• research on key professional development issues; and

• public awareness of the critical role that directors play in the provision of quality services for children and families.

The overarching goal of the McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership is to improve the quality of center-based early care and education programs and to serve as a model for the professional development of early childhood administrators. Through its training and technical assistance efforts, the Center equips directors with the knowledge, skills, and support they need to administer exemplary early childhood programs. Through its research and public awareness efforts, it serves as a voice for directors by advocating for better working conditions and compensation, supporting emerging leaders from underrepresented groups, and strengthening professional standards for early childhood personnel.

Funded by grants and contracts from philanthropic foundations, government agencies, and private corporations, the McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership’s initiatives are targeted to program administrators of center- based early care and education programs. This includes for-profit and nonprofit, public-sponsored and private-sponsored, and part-day and full-day programs serving infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children during their out-of school time. Secondary audiences include supervisors, researchers, policymakers, and trainers, as well as other current and emerging leaders in the field of early childhood and related disciplines.

Some of the Center’s activities include nationally recognized director-training programs such as the Head Start Leadership Training Program, Taking Charge of Change, the Next Step Advanced Leadership Training, Coaching for Results, and Directors’ Technology Training. The Center also provides training for career advisors to prepare them to mentor early childhood practitioners and for quality enhancement specialists who provide technical assistance to centers. Annually the Center hosts a leadership conference, Leadership Connections, for directors nationwide.

In the area of technical assistance, the Center offers organizational climate assessment using The Early Childhood Work Environment Survey (ECWES). Center staff also provide support for local and state quality enhancement initiatives by facilitating accreditation, assisting with the development of director credential programs, and providing technical assistance on how to use the Program Administration Scale (PAS) to measure and monitor the quality of leadership and management practices of center-based programs.

The Center has been a leader in providing technology support for child-care administrators including the development of Microsoft and Lotus SmartSuite technology manuals and hosting online discussion forums for early childhood administrators on its Web site (http://cecl.nl.edu).

Research conducted by the Center focuses on a wide range of professional development issues including the effectiveness of different training models, workforce turnover and compensation, and teacher qualifications and credentialing. To expand the public’s awareness of the importance of strong leadership in early care and education, the Center publishes a quarterly newsletter The Director’s Link and quarterly Research Notes in addition to periodic public policy reports on different professional development issues.

Further Readings: Talan, T., and P. J. Bloom (2004). The program administration scale. New York: Teachers College Press.

Paula Jorde Bloom