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Leadership in Christian Early Childhood Education: A Grounded Theory
Theses PhD
  • Marion Shields, Avondale College of Higher Education
Date of Award
Embargo Period
Degree Type
Degree Name
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Education, Business & Science
First Advisor
Phil Fitzsimmons
Second Advisor
Sherry Hattingh
Third Advisor
Peter Beamish
Subject Categories

Despite the increasing proliferation of Christian early childhood education and care centres for pre-school aged children in Australia and internationally, it would appear that the Christian aspect of the leadership and management of these centres has not been thoroughly investigated. This research project explored the beliefs, values and practices of four leaders of Christian early childhood education and care centres in New South Wales, Australia from four different denominational groups. Using the tools of grounded theory in a three-round hermeneutic dialectic interview process, the leaders’ perceptions of the integration of Christian faith into their practice was examined. The results uncovered a deep individual commitment to a God-centred approach in all areas of their daily practice. The leaders’ faith relationship with God, led them to a dynamic worldview that compelled and empowered them to relate to children, staff, families and their communities in a loving, holistic, compassionate, respectful and supportive manner. The detailed results of the findings are presented as case studies, with the subsequent analysis leading to the development of a grounded theory of Christian early childhood education leadership.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International

Used by permission: the author.

Staff and Students of Avondale College may access a print copy of this thesis from Avondale College Library (SC Theses 268.432 Sh6).

Citation Information

Shields, M. (2019). Leadership in Christian early childhood education: A grounded theory (Doctoral dissertation, Avondale College of Higher Education, Cooranbong, Australia). Retrieved from