Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Kathleen Brown

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© 2014 Shelby K. Barthold


Leadership studies and leadership development have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, much of this popularity has been focused on leadership in adults. This thesis explores the emergence and development of leadership skills in children as they gain experience from play, athletics, and school. The definition of leadership is examined as well as the skills needed for proficient leadership. The skills are structured around the Big Five personality factors. Each of the areas discussed – play, athletics, and school – gives children many opportunities to interact with their peers allowing for valuable development. Overall, this thesis asserts that leadership and its development can occur at the beginning of an individual’s lifetime and does not need to be restricted to adulthood.