Exploring the organisational cultures of early childhood centres
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 12:51 authored by Andrea McFarlane
The introduction of the National Quality Standard (NQS) (ACECQA, 2011b) invites an investigation into how this major policy reform is being communicated and what impact it has among staff working in early childhood (EC) centres. The aim of this research study was to explore how relationships among EC educators influenced the organisational culture of EC centres, and how NQS was being communicated amongst educators. Data was collected through a questionnaire and semi-structured individual interviews with the directors/educational leaders, teachers and assistants from three community-based long day care centres in the Sydney metropolitan area, as well as an interview with the Director of the auspicing agency. Information available on public access through the website of the auspicing agency, and other related documents available to parents through their centres were also analysed to gain further insights on the nature of the organisational cultures of the participating centres. Thematic analysis of data from a social systems perspective identified emergent trends and issues of relevance to quality provisioning of EC programs. Findings suggest that the leadership of the centre directors and the Head Office of the auspicing agency, and a notion of interdependence between staff, played a key role in developing the organisational cultures of the centres. A democratic style of leadership was identified through intentional communication strategies which provided a sense of belonging and attachment to the settings, and collaborative reflection on practice provided a foundation for the implementation of NQS. Insights gained from this research can be used to inform training provisions for EC staff, specifically in support of the implementation of the national quality assessment and rating requirements.