Professional Learning and Distributed Leadership: A Symbiotic Relationship



Pedagogical improvement in early childhood education (ECE) is critically impacted by leadership and professional learning. Despite this importance, government funding for ECE professional learning has been significantly reduced over the past decade. Meanwhile, a growing body of research is suggesting that teacher professional learning is most effective when contextualised and sustained over time. In ECE, positional leaders have responsibility for ensuring ongoing teacher professional learning and the development of the programme while developing a culture of distributed leadership. This interpretive mixed-methods study examined the practices and perceptions of ECE teachers and leaders about leadership and professional learning. Surveys and interviews were designed to reveal the relationship between distributed leadership and professional learning in ECE settings and sought to discover practices of effective positional leaders in facilitating both. From the results of this study, it emerged that distributed leadership and professional learning are symbiotic and that ECE positional leaders need to develop certain leadership practices within their services in order to successfully foster both.


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Author Biography

Rachel Denee, Victoria University of Wellington

Rachel Denee has been working in teaching, leadership, and research roles in early childhood education since 2000. Her research interests include educational leadership, professional learning, and visual art in early childhood. Rachel is a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington, studying ECE teachers’ practices and perceptions about art through a professional learning community.

How to Cite
DENEE, Rachel. Professional Learning and Distributed Leadership: A Symbiotic Relationship. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], v. 23, p. 63-78, dec. 2018. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 12 aug. 2020. doi: