Early Childhood Managers – Early Childhood Development Essay

Management in early childhood is a very important aspect that professionals have to deal with everyday. Samson and Daft (2000, p9) define management as ‘the attainment of organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner through planning, organizing, leading and controlling organizational resources’. Whereas Light (1968, p.10) describes management as ‘the body of knowledge about managing and the process of planning, organizing, directing, coordinating and controlling men, materials, machines and money so as to secure the optimum achievement of objectives’.

Both concepts of management agree that it has to do with planning and organizing but Light describes it a bit further by saying that it also includes controlling men, materials and machines. Samson and Daft talk about how they have to lead and control organizational resources and that is what management is; it is concerned with the present and the future of the organization. There are five levels of hierarchy of competencies for early childhood managers as Hayden (1996 as cited in Ebbeck and Waniganayake, 2003, p.9) describes. Level 1 is Technical functions, Level 2 – staffing functions, Level 3 – client oriented functions, Level 4 – public relations functions and Level 5 – cultural and symbolic functions and Hayden (1996 as cited in Ebbeck and Waniganayake, 2003, p.10) also points out ‘to be a good manager one has first to be able to perform the technical tasks that are placed at the base of the hierarchy. Only then can one focus on the staffing aspects including mentoring and inspiring staff and building a team based work environment’. Therefore, any manager that takes care of the management of the service has to deal with the technical aspects like ‘the operations, including purchasing, budgeting, record keeping, hiring and firing staff….’(Ebbeck and Waniganayake, 2003,p.9). Light has described management in detail and even put in the fact that money is also needed to have a good management. However, both concepts do not discuss how management is to monitor quality and improvement and also do not say anything about the people that will be involved in the organization and what part they will play in the management. Management in early childhood is quite different because children that attend the centre might suffer as a result of bad management skills and a developmentally appropriate curriculum is also to be designed for the children and you have to deal with families as well, whereas in other organizations such as business management, you would not have to deal with these aspects. Managing means to take care of, to run, to supervise, to manage a particular task or organization and both concepts have described ways in which you can do that; planning, organizing, leading, controlling, coordinating. Light also describes that ‘….optimum achievement of objectives’ and recognizes that in management you have to manage in a way so that you can get the best possible results from the objectives. Both concepts agree that managements has to have a set of goals or objectives that you have to achieve and you have to do that in the most convenient and effective way.