Our Research-Based Approach
One of our original partners in developing MECLP was the University of Massachusetts. UMass Boston led an evaluation of three cohorts of its leadership program, published in the Early Childhood Education Journal in July 2018. The study’s key research questions included: (1) How do early educators define and co-create leadership pathways in the ECE field? (2) How and what do educators change as a result of their leadership development experience?
Approximately one year after they completed the program, all 43 program graduates were invited to participate in an interview, and 35 agreed. In addition to conducting semi-structured interviews, trained graduate assistants analyzed two class assignments, including the final project, and a statement of intent for each participant.
Researchers coded their analysis into themes: changes in practice, leadership barriers, leadership facilitators, leadership progress, program barriers to success, program supports to success, and professional and leadership pathways. They found that educators experienced four transformative shifts in their development as leaders: (1) re-defining leadership (2) coming to see oneself as a leader (3) identifying one’s purpose as a leader and (4) developing professional and leadership networks and relationships.