The Impact of Shared Pedagogical Leadership on Physical Activity in Early Childhood Education: An Interpretive Analysis
Foley, Hannah Christine
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The original contribution of this thesis is to add to the minimal amount of literature regarding the impact of shared pedagogical leadership on physical activity in early childhood education. Developing a lifelong love of physical activity can start in the early years. These years are critical for developing behavioural habits and subconscious belief systems about what one can achieve. The aim of this study was to research the impact of leadership within the realm of physical activity in early childhood education. The aim arose with the hope of contributing to the wellbeing of children in their early years of development; and the need to improve my knowledge of shared leadership to enhance my own practice and thus impact positively on others in my field. Also, there is a desire to help others struggling with leadership conceptualisation in early childhood education. Oliver (2008) asserts that physical activity is beneficial to bone weight and weight status. Conversely, inactivity has been linked to obesity. In both childhood and adult years obesity has been linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Oliver, 2008). Besides disease prevention measures, physical activity is related to essential motor skills development and improved cognition (Brownlee, 2015; Oliver, 2008). Participation in physical activity coincides with increased skills and mental abilities and is yet another reason why leaders in early childhood education must confidently focus greater attention on physical activity implementation. Finally, with the nature of community of early childhood education in mind, this research seeks to identify which forms of leadership are the most suitable for physical activity enhancement. Interpretive data from this qualitative study was synthesised with the wider field of literature in shared leadership. This data demonstrated that shared leadership forms best enhance children’s participation in physical activity. When pedagogical leaders share their goals and invite family to participate in the decision making and role-modelling, the results are maximised.