Leadership and Advocacy for the Early Childhood Program Director

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ECE 284

       Course Name: Leadership and Advocacy for the Early Childhood Program Director

       Credits: 1 (1 lecture; 0 lab Fee $15)

II.    Prerequisite

ECE 273 or consent of department chair.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course presents information on organizational theory and leadership styles in relation to early childhood and school-age work environments.  Focus is on developing a center philosophy and mission statement and effective advocacy activities.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Students will:

  1. Develop knowledge of the legislative process, social issues, and public policy affecting young children and their families.
  2. Develop the ability to articulate a vision, clarify and affirm values, and create a culture built on norms of continuous improvement and ethical conduct.
  3. Develop the ability to evaluate program effectiveness.
  4. Develop the ability to define organizational problems, gather data to generate alternative solutions and effectively apply analytical skills in its solution.
  5. Guide the board and staff in developing the center's philosophy and mission statement.
  6. Obtain the knowledge to conduct and organizational climate assessment to improve the quality of work life for staff.
  7. Evaluate center practices and implement program improvement plans.
  8. Initiate community collaborations for more efficient and cost-effective service delivery.
  9. Understand the criteria for accreditation of a center.
  10. Understand how to use Project management software.

In addition to the objectives listed above, this course also meets the following Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and National Association for the Education of Young Children Teaching Standards.

IPTS Standards

STANDARD 2 – Content Area and Pedagogical Knowledge – The competent teacher has an in-depth understanding of content area knowledge that includes central concepts, methods, structures of the disciplines, and content area literacy. The teacher creates meaningful learning experiences for each student based upon interactions among content area and pedagogical knowledge, and evidence-based practice.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
2A) understands theories and philosophies of learning and human development as they relate to the range of students in the classroom;

STANDARD 8 – Collaborative Relationships – The competent teacher builds and maintains collaborative relationships to foster cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social and emotional development. This teacher works as a team member with professional colleagues, students, parents or guardians, and community members.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
8A) understands schools as organizations within the larger community context;
8B) understands the collaborative process and the skills necessary to initiate and carry out that process;
8C) collaborates with others in the use of data to design and implement effective school interventions that benefit all students;
8D) understands the benefits, barriers, and techniques involved in parent and family collaborations;
8E) understands school- and work-based learning environments and the need for collaboration with all organizations (e.g., businesses, community agencies, nonprofit organizations) to enhance student learning;
8F) understands the importance of participating on collaborative and problem-solving teams to create effective academic and behavioral interventions for all students;

STANDARD 9 – Professionalism, Leadership, and Advocacy – The competent teacher is an ethical and reflective practitioner who exhibits professionalism; provides leadership in the learning community; and advocates for students, parents or guardians, and the profession.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
9A) evaluates best practices and research-based materials against benchmarks within the disciplines;
9D) identifies paths for continuous professional growth and improvement, including the design of a professional growth plan;
9E) is cognizant of his or her emerging and developed leadership skills and the applicability of those skills within a variety of learning communities;
9F) understands the roles of an advocate, the process of advocacy, and its place in combating or promoting certain school district practices affecting students;
9G) understands local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture; and
9H) understands the importance of modeling appropriate dispositions in the classroom.

NAEYC Standards

STANDARD 1. Promoting Child Development and Learning
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of young children’s characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children’s development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.

Key elements of STANDARD 1
1A) Knowing and understanding young children’s characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8

STANDARD 2 – Building Family and Community Relationships
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that successful early childhood education depends upon partnerships with children’s families and communities. They know about, understand, and value the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. They use this understanding to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to involve all families in their children’s development and learning.

Key elements of STANDARD 2
2A) Knowing about and understanding diverse family and community characteristics
2B) Supporting and engaging families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships.
2C) Involving families and communities in young children’s development and learning.

STANDARD 4. Using Developmentally Effective Approaches
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child’s development and learning.

Key elements of STANDARD 4
4A) Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with young children
4B) Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology
4C) Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching/learning approaches
4D) Reflecting on own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child.

STANDARD 5 – Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaning Curriculum
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.

Key elements of STANDARD 5
5A) Understanding content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines: language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science, physical activity, physical education, health and safety; and social studies.

STANDARD 6. Becoming a Professional
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs identify and conduct themselves as members or the early childhood profession. They know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.

Key elements of STANDARD 6
6A) Identifying and involving oneself with the early childhood field
6B) Knowing about and upholding ethical standards and other early childhood professional guidelines
6C) Engaging in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice; using technology effectively with young children, with peers, and as a professional resource
6D) Integrating knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education.
6E) Engaging in informed advocacy for young children and the early childhood profession.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Nature and Importance of Leadership
Traits, Motives and Characteristics of Leaders
Effective Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors
Power, Politics and Leadership
Influence Tactics
Developing Teamwork
Motivation and Coaching Skills
Creative Problem Solving
Conflict Resolution
Change Management

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, class discussion, small group projects, videos, readings, oral reports, written assignments.


Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid, or on line course.

  1. Reading of the texts and supplemented readings will be required.
  2. Student will be required to demonstrate competency by successfully completing oral reports, small group projects, and written assignments.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Oral reports, small group projects, written assignments

XI.   Other Course Information



If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.