Advertisement

Early Childhood Student–Teacher Relationships: What is the Role of Classroom Climate for Children Who are Disadvantaged?

  • Amanda L. MoenEmail author
  • Susan M. Sheridan
  • Rachel E. Schumacher
  • Katherine C. Cheng
Article
  • 32 Downloads

Abstract

The current study reports the results of a study examining the relationship between classroom climate and the development of the student-teacher relationship for young children at-risk. Participants were 267 children and 93 early educators. All children were from low income backgrounds and were experiencing developmental concerns in the area of language, cognition or social-emotional development. Teacher surveys were administered twice during the academic year (fall and spring) during a child’s first preschool year, and observations of classroom climate were conducted in the spring of the same year. Findings indicated that classroom emotional support predicted the development of the student-teacher relationship, such that children in classrooms characterized by higher levels of emotional support experienced greater improvement in the overall relationship and closeness in the relationship, and greater decreases in conflict in the relationship relative to peers in less emotionally supportive classrooms. Classroom organization and instructional support were not found to predict changes in the student-teacher relationship. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Keywords

Student–teacher relationship Classroom climate Early childhood 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R324A120153 to the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute of Education Sciences or the U.S. Department of Education. We extend special appreciation to the participating families, teachers, schools and agencies for their willingness to cooperate and learn with us throughout the project.

References

  1. Anderson, L. M., Evertson, C. M., & Emmer, E. T. (1980). Dimensions in classroom management derived from recent research. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 12, 343–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker, J. A. (2006). Contributions of teacher-child relationships to positive school adjustment during elementary school. Journal of School Psychology, 44, 211–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beauregard, J. L., Drews-Botsch, C., Sales, J. M., Flanders, W. D., & Kramer, M. R. (2018). Does socioeconomic status modify the association between preterm birth and children’s early cognitive ability and kindergarten academic achievement in the United States? American Journal of Epidemiology.  https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy068.Google Scholar
  4. Bettencourt, A. F., Gross, D., Ho, G., & Perrin, N. (2018). The costly consequences of not being socially and behaviorally ready to learn by kindergarten in Baltimore city. Journal of Urban Health, 95, 36–50.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-017-0214-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birch, S. H., & Ladd, G. W. (1997). The teacher-child relationship and children’s early school adjustment. Journal of School Psychology, 35, 61–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boyle, C. A., Boulet, S., Schieve, L. A., Cohen, R. A., Blumberg, S. J., Yeargin-Allsopp, M., … Kogan, M. D. (2011). Trends in the prevalence of developmental disabilities in US children, 1997–2008. Pediatrics, 127, 1034–1042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brophy-Herb, H. E., Lee, R. E., Nievar, M. A., & Stollak, G. (2007). Preschoolers’ social competence: Relations to family characteristics, teacher behaviors and classroom climate. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 134-148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 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 Developmental Science, 12, 140–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burchinal, M. R., Peisner-Feinberg, E., Bryant, D. M., & Clifford, R. (2000). Children’s social and cognitive development and child-care quality: Testing for differential associations related to poverty, gender, or ethnicity. Applied Developmental Science, 4, 149–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 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, 415–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 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, 119–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cameron, C. E., Connor, C. M., Morrison, F. J., & Jewkes, A. M. (2008). Effects of classroom organization on letter—word reading in first grade. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 173–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2010). The foundations of lifelong health are built in early childhood. Retrieved from http://www.developingchild.harvard.edu.
  14. Comeau, J., & Boyle, M. H. (2018). Patterns of poverty exposure and children’s trajectories of externalizing and internalizing behaviors. SSM Population Health, 4, 86–94.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2017.11.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Conger, R. D., & Conger, K. J. (2002). Resilience in midwestern families: Selected findings from the first decade of a prospective, longitudinal study. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64(2), 361–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Curby, T. W., LoCasale-Crouch, J., Konold, T. R., Pianta, R. C., Howes, C., Burchinal, M., … Barbarin, O. (2009). The relations of observed Pre-K classroom quality profiles to children’s achievement and social competence. Early Education and Development, 20, 346–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Denham, S. A., Bassett, H., Mincic, M., Kalb, S., Way, E., Wyatt, T., & Segal, Y. (2012a). Social–emotional learning profiles of preschoolers’ early school success: A person-centered approach. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 178–189.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2011.05.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Denham, S. A., Bassett, H. H., & Zinsser, K. (2012b). Early childhood teachers as socializers of young children’s social emotional competence. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40, 137–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. DiPerna, J. C., & Elliott, S. N. (2002). Promoting academic enablers to improve student achievement: An introduction to the miniseries. School Psychology Review, 31, 293–297.Google Scholar
  20. Dolezal, S. E., Welsh, L. M., Pressley, M., & Vincent, M. M. (2003). How nine third-grade teachers motivate student academic engagement. The Elementary School Journal, 103, 239–267. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1002271. doi.
  21. Doll, B., Spies, R., & Champion, A. (2012). Contributions of ecological school mental health services to students’ academic success. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 22, 44–61.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10474412.2011.649642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Duncan, G. J., Dowsett, C. J., Claessens, A., Magnuson, K., Huston, A. C., Klebanov, P., … Japel, C. (2007). School readiness and later achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43, 1428–1446.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.43.6.1428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Enders, C. K. (2010). Applied missing data analysis. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  24. Evans, G. W. (2016). Childhood poverty and adult psychological well-being. PNAS, 113, 14949–14952.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1604756114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Evans, G. W., & Kim, P. (2007). Childhood poverty and health: Cumulative risk exposure and stress dysregulation. Psychological Science, 18, 953–957.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.02008.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Halle, T., Forry, N., Hair, E., Perper, K., Wandner, L., Wessel, J., & Vick, J. (2009). Disparities in early learning and development: Lessons from the early childhood longitudinal study-birth cohort (ECLS-B). Washington, DC: Child Trends.Google Scholar
  27. Hammer, D., Melhuish, E., & Howard, S. J. (2017). Do aspects of social, emotional and behavioural development in the pre-school period predict later cognitive and academic attainment? Australian Journal of Education, 61, 270–287.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0004944117729514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2001). Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development, 72, 625–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 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, 949–967.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hatfield, B. E., Burchinal, M. R., Pianta, R. C., & Sideris, J. (2016). Thresholds in the association between quality of teacher-child interactions and preschool children’s school readiness skills. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36, 561–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Henricsson, L., & Rydell, A. M. (2004). Elementary school children with behavior problems: Teacher-child relationships and self-perception: A prospective study. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 50, 111–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Howes, C. (2000). Social-emotional classroom climate in child care, child-teacher relationships and children’s second grade peer relations. Social Development, 9, 191–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jones, D. E., Greenberg, M., & Crowley, M. (2015). Early social-emotional functioning and public health: The relationship between kindergarten social competence and future wellness. American Journal of Public Health, 105, 2283–2290.  https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kwon, K., Kim, E., & Sheridan, S. (2012). Behavioral competence and academic functioning among early elementary children with externalizing problems. School Psychology Review, 41, 123–140.Google Scholar
  35. Longo, F., Lombardi, C. M., & Dearing, E. (2017). Family investments in low-income children’s achievement and socioemotional functioning. Developmental Psychology, 53, 2273–2289.  https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0000366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mardell, C., & Goldenberg, D. (2010). DIAL-4: Developmental indicators for the assessment of learning. London: Pearson Clinical Assessment.Google Scholar
  37. Mashburn, A. J., Pianta, R. C., Hamre, B. K., Downer, J. T., Barbarin, O. A., Bryant, D., … Howes, C. (2008). Measures of classroom quality in prekindergarten and children’s development of academic, language, and social skills. Child Development, 79, 732–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mazza, J. R., Pingault, J. B., Booij, L., Boivin, M., Tremblay, R., Lambert, J. … Cote, S. (2017). Poverty and behavior problems during early childhood: The mediating role of maternal depression symptoms and parenting. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 41, 670–680.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025416657615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McIntosh, D. (2010). Treating disruptive classroom behaviors of preschoolers through teacher-child interaction therapy. In A. A. Drewes & C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), School-based play therapy (pp. 197–218). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Morgan, P. L., Farkas, G., Tufis, P. A., & Sperling, R. A. (2008). Are reading and behavior problems risk factors for each other? Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41, 417–436.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219408321123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998). Mplus user’s guide (8th ed.). Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  42. Pianta, R. C. (2001). Student-teacher relationship scale. Lutz: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.Google Scholar
  43. Pianta, R. C., Hamre, B. K., & Stuhlman, M. W. (2003). Relationships between children and teachers. In W. M. Reynolds & G. E. Miller (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Educational psychology (vol. 7, pp. 199–234). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Google Scholar
  44. Pianta, R. C., la Paro, K. M., & Hamre, B. K. (2008). Classroom assessment scoring system pre-K manual. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.Google Scholar
  45. 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, 225–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pianta, R. C., Mashburn, A. J., Downer, J. T., Hamre, B. K., & Justice, L. (2008). Effects of web-mediated professional development resources on teacher–child interactions in pre-kindergarten classrooms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 431–451.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2008.02.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pianta, R. C., Steinberg, M. S., & Rollins, L. B. (1995). The first two years of school: Teacher-child relationships and deflections in children’s classroom adjustment. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 295–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Curby, T. W., Grimm, K. J., Nathanson, L., & Brock, L. L. (2009). The contribution of children’s self-regulation and classroom quality to children’s adaptive behaviors in the kindergarten classroom. Developmental Psychology, 45(4), 958–972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., & Pianta, R. C. (2000). An ecological perspective on the transition to kindergarten: A theoretical framework to guide empirical research. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21, 491–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rosenberg, S. A., Zhang, D., & Robinson, C. C. (2008). Prevalence of developmental delays and participation in early intervention services for young children. Pediatrics, 121, e1503–e1509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sabol, T. J., & Pianta, R. C. (2012). Patterns of school readiness forecast achievement and socioemotional development at the end of elementary school. Child Development, 83, 282–299. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41416082. doi.
  52. Shonkoff, J. P., Gardner, A. S., Siegel, B. S., Dobbins, M. I., Earls, M. F., & McGuinn, L. … & Committee on early childhood, adoption, and dependent care (2012). The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics. 129, e232–e246.Google Scholar
  53. Shonkoff, J. P., & Phillips, D. A. (Eds.). (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Washington, D. C.: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  54. Vernon-Feagans, L., Burchinal, M., & Mokrova, I. L. (2015). Diverging destinies in rural America. In P. Amato, A. Booth, S. McHale & J. Van Hook (Eds.), Families in an era of increasing inequality: Diverging destinies. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  55. Wolf, S., Magnuson, K. A., & Kimbro, R. T. (2017). Family poverty and neighborhood poverty: Links with children’s school readiness before and after the great recession. Children and Youth Services Review, 79, 368–384.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.06.040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zan, B., & Donegan-Ritter, M. (2014). Reflecting, coaching and mentoring to enhance teacher–child interactions in head start classrooms. Early Childhood Education Journal, 42, 93–104.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-013-0592-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral PsychologyKennedy Krieger InstituteBaltimoreUS
  2. 2.University of Nebraska-Lincoln Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, FamiliesLincolnUS

Personalised recommendations