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Teacher-child interactions in Early Head Start classrooms: Associations with teacher characteristics

The current study examined characteristics of 71 Early Head Start lead teachers in relation to classroom interactions with infants and toddlers. Measured teacher characteristics included education, years of experience, beliefs about child rearing, depressive symptoms, and the temperamental characteristics of positivity and frustration. Teacher-child interactions were measured using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, Toddler Version (La Paro, Hamre, & Pianta, 2012). Results indicated that field of degree was directly associated with the majority of dimensions of teacher-child interactions. Examination of teachers' years of experience and intrapersonal characteristics revealed a number of significant interactions, indicating that teacher experience and appropriate beliefs may serve as protective factors in the presence of psychosocial risk factors. Practice or Policy: Overall, our findings suggest that both early childhood education degrees and years of experience are directly or indirectly associated with multiple dimensions of teacher-child interactions, confirming that these patterns established for preschool teachers hold for teachers of infants and toddlers. These results also suggest that years of experience and progressive beliefs about children may be especially important for teachers who are depressed or who have low levels of positivity and high levels of frustration. Implications for future research, as well as preservice and in-service professional development, are discussed. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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