The Nature of Pedagogical Support Provided by Departmental Heads to Reception Year Teachers in Primary Schools: A Case of South Africa


  • Matshediso Modise Rebecca Department of Early Childhood and Development, College of Teacher Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa



early childhood education, pedagogical leadership, reception year, scaffolding, socio-cultural theory, virtual simulation, zone of proximal development


This research paper explored pedagogical leadership and its implementation by Departmental Heads (DHs) regarding the supervision and support of Reception year (Grade R) teachers in the Gauteng North District public schools, South Africa. Three objectives were framed for this study which applied the Atlas Ti software to analyse qualitative data. The research employed a descriptive single case study design. The population consisted of selected Reception year teachers and DHs. The purposive study sample comprised 13 DHs and 12 Reception year teachers. Vygotsky’s (1978) socio-cultural theory underpinned the study in line with pedagogical leadership principles regarding the supervision and support of Reception year teachers. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and individual semi-structured interviews were conducted to gather data from primary school DHs and teachers. The interpretative lens was selected to explore and understand DHs' responses regarding aspects of supervision and support. The findings revealed that pedagogical leadership was ineffective when supervising teaching practice. The follow-up processes of guidance, assistance, and support, which were previously provided, were now non-existent. This reflected a disconnected understanding among participants of pedagogical leadership support for Reception year teachers. The recommendations included the following: provision of relevant resources for Reception year teachers (and learners) to exploit the benefits of Early Childhood Care and Education; ECCE education officers must regularly provide support and training for DHs on the importance of pedagogical leadership and how to effectively implement them; and DHs need to collaborate with Reception year teachers to improve their pedagogical support.


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How to Cite

Rebecca, M. M. (2024). The Nature of Pedagogical Support Provided by Departmental Heads to Reception Year Teachers in Primary Schools: A Case of South Africa. Southeast Asia Early Childhood Journal, 13(1), 102–115.