Teacher-child relationships in preschool period: The roles of child temperament and language skills

Main Article Content

Sibel Yoleri


The aim of this study was to determine how children’s temperament and language skills predict the effects of teacher–child relationships in preschool. Parents and preschool teachers completed three questionnaires: The Student-Teacher Relationship Scale, the Marmara Development Scale and the Short Temperament Scale for Children. The relational survey method was used in this study. The sample consisted of 195 preschool children. According to the results, a negative significant relationship was found between the teacher-child relationships scores and the reactivity sub-dimension of temperament. Also, there are positive significant relationships between teacher-child relationship scores and language skills. In addition, both the reactivity sub dimension of temperament and language skills demonstrate a predictor effect on the teacher-child relationships. Reactivity was the most important temperament trait factor affecting relationships.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
YOLERI, Sibel. Teacher-child relationships in preschool period: The roles of child temperament and language skills. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 9, n. 1, p. 210-224, aug. 2017. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <https://iejee.com/index.php/IEJEE/article/view/153>. Date accessed: 03 june 2020.


Baker, J. A. (2006). Contributions of teacher-child relationships to positive school adjustment during elementary school. Journal of School Psychology, 44(3), 211–229.
Baker, J. A., Grant, S., & Morlock, L. (2008). The teacher–student relationship as a developmental context for children with internalizing or externalizing behavior problems. School Psychology Quarterly, 23(1), 3–15.
Birch, S. H., & Ladd, G. W. (1997). The teacher–child relationship and children's early school adjustment. Journal of School Psychology, 35(1), 61–79.
Bonica, C., Arnold, D. H., Fisher, P. H., Zeljo, A., & Yershova, K. (2003). Relational aggression, relational victimization, and language development in preschoolers. Social Development, 12(4), 551–562.
Burchinal, M. R., Peisner-Feinberg, E., Pianta, R., & Howes, C. (2002). Development of academic skills from preschool through second grade: Family and classroom predictors of developmental trajectories. Journal of School Psychology, 40(5), 415–436.
Burchinal, M., Howes, C., Pianta, R., Bryant, D., Early, D., Clifford, R., & Barbarin, O. (2008). Predicting child outcomes at the end of kindergarten from the quality of pre-kindergarten teacher–child interactions and instruction. Applied Development Science, 12(3), 140–153.
Buss, K., Gingles, J., & Price, J. (1993). Parent–teacher temperament ratings and student success in reading. Reading Psychology: An International Quarterly, 14(4), 311–323.
Buyse, E., Verschueren, K., Verachtert, P., & Van Damme, J. (2009). Predicting school adjustment in early elementary school: Impact of teacher–child relationship quality and relational classroom climate. Elementary School Journal, 110(2), 119–141.
Chung, L.-C. (2000). A Study of Teacher Factors In Teacher-Child Relationships with Preschool Children. Nebraska: Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Colwell, M., & Lindsey, E. (2003). Teacher-child interactions and preschool children’s perceptions of self and peers. Early Child Development and Care, 173(2-3), 249-258.
Curby, T. W., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Ponitz, C. C. (2009). Teacher–child interactions and children’s achievement trajectories across kindergarten and first grade. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(4), 912–925.
Decker, D.M., Dona, D.P., & Christenson, S.L. (2007). Behaviorally at-risk African American students: The importance of student-teacher relationships for student outcomes. Journal of School Psychology. 45(1), 83-109.
De Schipper, J. C., Tavecchio, L. W., Van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Van Zeijl, J. (2004). Goodness-of-fit in center day care: Relations of temperament, stability, and quality of care with the child’s adjustment. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19(2), 257-272.
Dickinson, D. K., & Smith, M. W. (1994). Long-term effects of preschool teachers’ book readings on low-income children’s vocabulary and story comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 29(2), 104-122.
Dixon, W. E., & Smith, P. H. (2000). Links between early temperament and language acquisition. Merril-Palmer Quarterly, 46, 417–440.
Durkin, K. (2009). Language, shyness and social contexts: Commentary. Infant and Child Development, 18(3), May-June, 291-298.
Eisenhower, A. S., Baker, B. L., & Blacher, J. (2007). Early student-teacher relationships of children with and without intellectual disability: Contributions of behavioral, social, and self-regulatory competence. Journal of School Psychology, 45(4), 363–383.
Essa, E. (2003). A Practical Guide to Solving Preschool Behavior Problems. (5th ed.), Delmar Learning.
Flynn, B. M. (2000). The Teacher-Child Relationship, Temperament, and Coping in Children with Developmental Disabilities (Doctoral Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University). (UMI Number: 9979194).
Garner, P. W. & Waajid, B. (2008). The associations of emotion knowledge and teacher-child relationships to preschool children's school-related developmental competence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29, 89-100.
Griggs, M. S., Gagnon, S. G., Huelsman, T. J., Kiddler-Ashley, P. & Ballard, M. (2009). Student-teacher relationships matter: Moderating influences between temperament and preschool social competence. Psychology in the Schools, 46(6), 553-567.
Gulay, H. (2012). Temperament and peer relations: investigating the effect the temperament of 5-6-year-olds has on their peer relations. Early Child Development and Care, 182(10), 1383-1397.
Hamre, B. K. & Pianta, R. C. (2001). Early teacher-child relationships and trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development, 72(2), 625–638.
Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2005). Can instructional and emotional support in the first-grade classroom make a difference for children at risk of school failure? Child Development, 76(5), 949-967.
Hay, D. F., Payne, A., & Chadwick, A. (2004). Peer relations in childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines. 45(1), 84-108.
Helker, W., Schottelkorb, A., & Ray, D. (2007). Helping students and teachers CONNECT: An intervention model for school counselors. Journal of Professional Counseling, 35(2), 31-45.
Howes, C., & Hamilton, C. E. (1992). Children's relationships with child care teachers: Stability and concordance with parental attachments. Child Development, 63(4), 867–878.
Howes, C., Hamilton, C. E., & Matheson, C. C. (1994). Children’s relationships with peers: Differential associations with aspects of the teachers-child relationship. Child Development, 65(1), 253-263.
Howes, C. (2000). Social–emotional classroom climate in child care, child–teacher relationships and children's second grade peer relations. Social Development, 9(2), 191–204.
Howes, C., Phillipsen, L. C. & Peisner-Feinberg, E. (2000). The consistency of perceived teacher–child relationships between preschool and kindergarten, Journal of School Psychology 38(2), 113-132.
Howes, C., & Ritchie, S. (2002). A matter of trust: connecting teachers and learners in the early childhood classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.
Huffman, L. C., Mehlinger, S. L., & Kerivan, A. S. (2000). Risk factors for academic and behavioral problems at the beginning of school. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Center.
Justice, L. M., Cottone, E. A., Mashburn, A., & Rimm-Kaufman, S. E. (2008). Relationships between teachers and preschoolers who are at risk: Contribution of children’s language skills, temperamentally based attributes, and gender. Early Education and Development 19(4), 600–621.
Kagan, J., & N. Fox, N. (2006). Biology, culture, and temperamental issues (6th Ed.). In: W. Damon and N. Eisenberg, Editors, Handbook of child psychology: Social, emotional, and personality development, Vol. 3, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, New York, pp. 167–225.
Karasar, N. (2005). Bilimsel Araştırma Yöntemi. Ankara: Nobel Yayınları (Turkish).
Keogh, B. K., & Burstein, N. D. (1988). Relationship of temperament to preschoolers' interactions with peers and teachers. Exceptional Children, 54(5), 456-461.
Kıldan, A. O. (2008). Yapılandırmacı Yaklaşıma Göre Okul Öncesi Öğretmenlerine Verilen Hizmet İçi Eğitimin Öğretmen-Çocuk ve Öğretmen Ebeveyn İlişkilerine Etkisi. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Ankara: Gazi University.
Kıldan, O. (2011). An examination of teacher-child relation according to various variables. Buca Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi, 30, 103-120 (Turkish).
Kontos, S. & Wilcox-Herzog, A. (2002). Teacher Preparation and Teacher-Child Interaction in Preschools. Eric DIGEST. Retreived March 19, from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data /ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/2a/38/40.pdf
Ladd, G. W., Birch, S. H., & Buhs, E. S. (1999). Children’s social and scholastic lives in kindergarten: Related spheres of influence? Child Development, 70(6), 1373–1400.
Ladd, G. W., & Burgess, K. B. (2001). Do relational risks and protective factors moderate the linkages between childhood aggression and early psychological and school adjustment? Child Development, 72(5), 1579–1601.
Lerner, J. V., Lerner, R. M., & Zabski, S. (1985). Temperament and elementary school children's actual and rated academic performance: a test of a‘goodness-of-fit’ model. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 26(1), 125-136.
Meehan, B. T., Hughes, J. N., & Cavell, T. A. (2003). Teacher–student relationships as compensatory resources for aggressive children. Child Development. 74, 1145–1157.
Mitchell-Copeland, J., Denham, S. & DeMulder, E. (1997). Q-sort assessment of child–teacher attachment relationships and social competence in the preschool. Early Education & Development, 8(1), 27-39.
Myers, S. S., & Pianta, R. C. (2008). Developmental commentary: Individual and contextual influences on student–teacher relationships and children’s early problem behaviors. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 37(3), 600–608.
O’Connor, E., & McCartney, K. (2006). Testing associations between young children’s relationships with mothers and teachers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 87–98.
O’Connor, E., & McCartney, K. (2007). Examining teacher–child relationships and achievement as part of an ecological model of development. American Educational Research Journal, 44(2), 340–369.
Oktay, A., & Bilgin-Aydın, H. (2002). Improving Marmara Development Scale (for children who are 0-6 years of age). The symposium of early childhood development and education. Proceedings book (pp. 64-69). Ankara, Turkey: Kök (Turkish).
Oren, M. (2009). The Relationships between child temperament, teacher-child relationships, and teacher-child interactions. International Education Studies, 2(4), 122-133.
Paget, K.D., Nagle, R.J. & Martin, R.P. (1984). Interrelations between temperament characteristics and first-grade teacher-student interaction. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 12(4), 547-560.
Palermo, F., Hanish, L. D., Martin, C. L., Fabes, R. A., & Reiser, M. (2007). Preschoolers' academic readiness: What role does the teacher–child relationship play? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22(4), 407–422.
Patrick, H., Yoon, K.S., & Murphy, A.M. (1995). Personality characteristics, social competence, and early school adjustment: A contextual and developmental perspective. Paper presented at the meeting for the Society for Research in Child Development, Indianapolis, IN.
Peisner-Feinberg, E. S., & Burchinal, M. R. (1997). Relations between preschool children’s child care experiences and concurrent development: The cost, quality, and outcomes study. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 43(3), 451-477.
Peisner-Feinberg, E. S., Burchinal, M. R., Clifford, R. M., Culkin, M. L., Howes, C., Kagan, S. L., & Yazejian, N. (2001). The relation of preschool child-care quality to children's cognitive and social developmental trajectories through second grade. Child Development, 72(5), 1534–1553.
Pianta, R. C., Steinberg, M. S., & Rollins, K. B. (1995). The first two years of school: Teacher-child relationships and deflections in children’s classroom adjustment. Development and Psychopathology, 7(2), 295–312.
Pianta, R. C. (1996). Manual and Scoring Guide for the Student-Teacher Relationship Scale. Virginia: Charlottesville.
Pianta, R. C., Nimetz, S. L., & Bennett, E. (1997). Mother-child relationships, teacher-child relationships, and school outcomes in preschool and kindergarten. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12(3), 263–280.
Pianta, R. C. (1999). Enhancing relationships between children and teachers, American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.
Pianta, R. C., La Paro, K. M., Payne, C., Cox, M. J., & Bradley, R. (2002). The relation of kindergarten classroom environment to teacher, family, and school characteristics and child outcomes. The Elementary School Journal, 102(3), 225-238.
Pianta, R.C., Hamre, B., & Stuhlman, M. (2003). Relationships between teachers and children. In W. Reynolds and G. Miller (Eds.), Comprehensive handbook of psychology: Vol. 7. Educational psychology, pp. 199–234.
Pianta, R. C., & Stuhlman, M. W. (2004). Teacher–child relationships and children’s success in the first years of school. School Psychology Review, 33(3), 444–458.
Prior, M. R., Sanson, A. V., & Oberklaid, F. (1989a). The Australian Temperament Project. In G. A. Kohnstamm, J. E. Bates, & M. K. Rothbart (Eds.), Temperament in childhood (pp. 537-554). Chichester, England: Wiley.
Pullis, M., & Cadwell, J. (1985). Temperament as a factor in the assessment of children educationally at risk. Journal of Special Education, 19(1), 91-102.
Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Early, D. M., Cox, M. J., Saluja, G., Pianta, R. C., Bradley, R. H., & Payne, C. (2002). Early behavioral attributes and teachers’ sensitivity as predictors of competent behavior in the kindergarten classroom. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 23(4), 451–470.
Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Kagan, J. (2005). Infant predictors of kindergarten behavior: The contribution of inhibited and uninhibited temperament types. Behavioral Disorders, 30(4), 331–347.
Rothbart, M., & Bates, J. (1998). Temperament. In W. Damon (Series ed.), & N. Eisenberg (Vol.ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3. Social, Emotional, and Personality Development (5th ed., pp. 105–176). New York: Wiley.
Rothbart, M. K. & Bates, J. E. (2006). Temperament. In W. Damon & R. Lerner (Series Eds.), & N. Eisenberg (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development (6th ed., pp. 99-166). New York: Wiley.
Rudasill, K. M., Rimm-Kaufman, S.E., Justice, L. M., & Pence, K. (2006). Temperament and language skills as predictors of teacher–child relationship quality in preschool. Early Education & Development. 17(2), 271–291.
Rudasill, K. M. & Rimm-Kaufmann, S. E. (2009). Teacher-child relationship quality. The roles of child temperament and teacher-child intecrations. Early Childhood Quarterly, 24(2), 107-120.
Rudasill, K. M. (2011). Child temperament, teacher–child interactions, and teacher–child relationships: A longitudinal investigation from first to third grade. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26(2), 147-156.
Rydell, A., Bohlin, G., & Thorell, L. B. (2005). Representations of attachment to parents and shyness as predictors of children’s relationships with teachers and peer competence in preschool. Attachment and Human Development, 7(2), 187–204.
Saft, E. W., & Pianta, R. C. (2001). Teachers’ perceptions of their relationships with students: Effects of child age, gender, and ethnicity of teachers and children. School Psychology Quarterly, 16(2), 125-141.
Sendil, Ç. Ö. (2010). An investigation of social competence and behavioral problems of 5-6 year-old children through peer preference, temperament and gender. Unpublished Master of Science thesis, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.
Stuhlman, M. W, & Pianta, R. C. (2002). Teachers' narratives about their relationships with children: Associations with behavior in classrooms. School Psychology Review. 31(2), 148-163.
Thijs, J. T., Koomen, H. M. Y. & Van der Leij, A. (2008). Teacher-child relationships and pedagogical practices: Considering the teacher's perspective. School Psychology Review, 37(2), 244-260.
Thomas, A., Chess, S., Birch, H. G., Hertzig, M. E., & Korn, S. (1963). Behavioural individuality in early childhood. New York: New York University Press.
Thomas, A. & Chess, S. (1977). Temperament and development. New York: Bruner/Mazel.
Valiente, C., Lemery-Chalfant, K., Swanson, J., & Reiser, M. (2008). Prediction of children’s academic competence from their effortful control, relationships, and classroom participation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(1), 67–77.
Vasta, R., Miller, S. A., & Ellis, S. (2004). Child Psychology, 4th Edition. NJ. Wiley.
Yagmurlu, B. & Sanson, A. (2009). Acculturation and parenting among Turkish mothers in Australia. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40(3), 361-380.
Zentner, M. & Bates, J.E. (2008). Child temperament: An integrative review of concepts, research programs, and measures. European Journal of Developmental Science, 2(1/2), 7-37.