Early Childhood Leadership: A Qualitative Study of Parent Perceptions
Debra Jo Hailey, Ph. D; Michelle Fazio-Brunson, Ed. D.

There is very little research regarding leadership development of young children, and the research that is available focuses almost exclusively on young children demonstrating leadership skills in the classroom. The understanding of young leadership can be further developed by studying children‟s leadership development outside the school setting. This study sought to examine the beliefs, practices, and contextual relationships of families with first graders identified as leaders. The children were initially identified as leaders by their first grade teachers who had been trained to use a validated instrument for identifying leadership skills. Four mothers and three fathers of leaders who met gender and ethnic selection criteria participated. Parental perceptions of influences on young children‟s leadership development were investigated via interviews and parent journals. Findings indicate that parents recognized their children‟s leadership skills, describing behaviors that fit well with descriptors that early childhood educators had determined and that parents were able to add to that list of descriptors based on their children‟s exhibit of leadership in the home and community environment. Furthermore, parents believed that their own parenting strategies, coupled with the child‟s inherent personality, factored into their child‟s leadership development.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v9n1a1