Developing their leadership qualities is one of the best gifts that teachers can give
young learners. Childhood is the best time to inculcate leadership qualities; with these
qualities, learners can learn to work independently, take responsibility, think critically,
solve problems, communicate effectively, make good decisions and work effectively
with others in a team.
This study examined the phenomena of leadership and the facilitation of the
development of leadership qualities in the Foundation Phase that enabled young
learners to develop and assume leadership roles from this young age. Through
facilitating leadership qualities in the classroom teachers acquired responsibility for their
own teaching process.
The framework of the study was the transformational leadership theory, which
postulates a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into
leaders, and Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, which describes
development as a series of stages.
The participatory action research (PAR) methodology was used and applied in the
natural environment of Foundation Phase teachers by observing learners. The research
data was collected through focus group interviews, classroom observations, field notes,
visuals and documentation. This data was analysed and grouped into themes and subthemes.
The findings of the research revealed that Foundation Phase teachers were aware of
various leadership qualities that can be facilitated to young learners. After capacity
building workshops conducted the teachers realised that leadership qualities can be
facilitated to young learners in the school contexts. Nevertheless, the study findings
highlighted major challenges facing the Foundation Phase teachers and elicited
probable solutions for practice and policy recommendations. Thus this study contributes to the existing knowledge of leadership where teachers practiced leadership, and
facilitated leadership qualities to young learners in their classrooms. This study serves
as a pioneer study for enhancing leadership qualities in the Foundation Phase.