Leading in times of uncertainty: Early childhood directors navigating the COVID-19 pandemic

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Early childhood leadership, Adaptive leadership, Strengths-based leadership


Early childhood (EC) directors played a critical role in the successful operation of childcare centers during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Directors were responsible for adhering to health and safety protocols and caring for the well-being of their staff, children, and families. Due to the need to remain open for other first responders’ families, Directors were challenged with fluctuating numbers of staff and children, and in other cases, they were tasked with transitioning their programs online to serve children. This study examines 10 US EC Directors’ perspectives and leadership experiences during the Pandemic. From interviews with the participants, themes emerged to illustrate how EC Directors utilized adaptive leadership skills and strengths-based leadership. Findings from this study are beneficial not only to understand how EC Directors led during the Pandemic, but also which skills, resources, and supports are necessary for future times of crises and challenging times. This article offers recommendations for researchers, policymakers, and other decision-makers on how best to support EC Directors in future times of uncertainty.


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How to Cite

Movahedazarhouligh, S., & Jones, M. (2024). Leading in times of uncertainty: Early childhood directors navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Childhood, Education & Society, 5(1), 89–103. https://doi.org/10.37291/2717638X.202451296