Froebelian Leadership – Demet Aydn

Project author:

Project summary:

Action research and reflection on leadership from a Froebelian perspective in an early learning and childcare community


Small Changes, Big Differences  


 In this project, we had four meetings and a nature walk with the teachers of our school. During this time, we talked about how to transform our classroom into equal and inclusive classrooms with the support of nature. In this transformation, we have defined our responsibilities as a leader. We discussed how we can turn the difficulties we face in our school into an advantage or how we can overcome them. Teachers were informed about what they can do for equal and inclusive classrooms and their responsibilities. I have tried different ways to encourage a group working under difficult conditions to gain an inclusive perspective. 


 Through this project, “How can we transform my classroom as a leader into an equal and inclusive classroom?” We addressed the question. Before I started this program with you, I used to choose the topic to work on a topic with my colleagues. The subject I chose would usually be the subject in which I was successful and in which I had detailed knowledge. With this project, we chose the topic and the project question together. As a group, we determined our needs. 

In particular, the quote “”Team learning:  the capacity of members of a team to suspend judgements and assumptions and enter into genuine ‘thinking together’ about what is and could be” in the five disciplines of a “learning organization” guided me. I learned that I am a member of the team and that I can learn with my colleagues. 

 Your process –  

 In my meeting with my colleagues, I started with a question. “How do we rate your leadership in the class?”. Responses from my colleagues were that teachers saw themselves as inadequate in terms of leadership. I tried to expand their answers with my sentences. Then, “What can we do as a team to become a more effective leader?” I asked. Teachers gave answers such as doing research, attending courses, holding meetings. All options were discussed. Afterwards, it was seen that holding weekly 1-hour meetings was feasible for all participants. Therefore, four meeting times to be held in April have been determined. I asked them what we should talk about at the first meeting. Ayşe said that as a teacher leader, we can talk about what we need. We took note of the responses from other teachers. 


At the first meeting, I asked teacher Ayşe to ask us her question again. Teacher Ayşe, “What do we need to be a good leader?” asked the question. We wrote our strengths and weaknesses on the board as all the teachers talked about leadership qualities. In this section, I talked about Froebel’s leadership qualities. Ask teachers, “Where do we start to improve our leadership?” I asked the question. To help, I shared the following basic topics with the teachers. I told them they could add additional titles to the list. We talked to the teachers about these topics. Due to the needs of our school and teachers, we decided to start by developing our leadership characteristics under the heading of equality and inclusion. 




Documentation or planning 



Equity and inclusion 


  1. Meeting: I wrote equality and inclusion on the board. We talked to teachers about what a leader should do to create an equal and inclusive classroom. We planned a nature walk before the 3rd meeting. Thus, we decided to make small changes in our classroom with natural materials by collecting materials from nature.
  2. Meeting: We repeated the leadership characteristics we identified at the last meeting. We talked about how we make changes in our classroom with the materials we find in nature. We  talked about the challenges we face in leading with this understanding in our school. Teachers stated that the crowded classrooms, the presence of students who do not speak much Turkish, and the  difficulty of communicating with parents affect their leadership characteristics.
  3.  Meeting: At this meeting, we reconsidered what inclusion and equality are. We pasted Froebel’s leadership traits and our own leadership traits on the board by writing on small pieces of paper. We concluded that the challenges that teachers face in an equal and inclusive environment are necessary for an inclusive classroom environment. 


Project outcomes (non-leadership) –  

 Colleagues have learned that small changes can make a big difference in creating an inquiry-equal and inclusive classroom. They also recognized Froebel as a leader and his leadership qualities. As leaders, they realized that the small changes we make with the support of nature are important. In this way, they determined their roles and responsibilities in supporting multicultural children from different backgrounds in the same classroom environment. On this journey, “Froebel demonstrated the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people. Froebelian leaders can inculcate confidence by integrating diverse views and listening; supporting skilful conversations through dialogue and helping others assess their influence and expertise” was my starting point. 

 Final reflections 

 Before this course, I thought I already had leadership qualities as a teacher. But when I discovered Froebel and his leadership qualities, I discovered that the process of becoming a leader will continue throughout my life. I was very happy when my colleagues expressed that I was an equal and inclusive leader for them regarding my leadership qualities. However, while working with my colleagues, I realized that I needed more viable changes. I’ll have to work on being reflective a little more. In addition, I realized that I needed to work on good examples to improve myself in the classroom environment. “Small changes can produce big results… but the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious. You can have your cake and eat it too but not all at once.” We agreed with our teachers about the quote. Yes, we will not be able to make big changes to change policy across the country yet. But considering Froebel’s leadership, with small changes, we will be able to make big differences for equal and inclusive classes



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