A1 Journal article (refereed)
Teacher-child interactions as a context for developing social competence in toddler classrooms (2022)

Salminen, J., Pakarinen, E., Poikkeus, A.-M., Laakso, M.-L., & Lerkkanen, M.-K. (2022). Teacher-child interactions as a context for developing social competence in toddler classrooms. Journal of Early Childhood Education Research, 11(1), 38-67. https://journal.fi/jecer/article/view/114006

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsSalminen, Jenni; Pakarinen, Eija; Poikkeus, Anna-Maija; Laakso, Marja-Leena; Lerkkanen, Marja-Kristiina

Journal or seriesJournal of Early Childhood Education Research


Publication year2022


Issue number1

Pages range38-67

PublisherSuomen varhaiskasvatus ry

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Persistent website addresshttps://journal.fi/jecer/article/view/114006

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79691


The present study investigates the quality and variability of teacher-child interactions in relation to children’s social competence in Finnish toddler classrooms. The participants included 242 toddlers (114 girls, 128 boys) and their teachers (N= 42). The quality of teacher-child interactions (i.e., emotional and behavioral support; engaged support for learning) was observed using the CLASS-Toddler observation instrument (La Paro et al., 2012), and the average amount of within-day variability was calculated from the observed cycles. Teachers rated toddler’s social competence with the Multisource Assessment of Social Competence Scale (MASCS; Junttila et al., 2006) in relation to the toddlers’ cooperation, empathy, impulsivity, and disruptiveness. The results revealed that observed engaged support for learning was positively associated with the classroom average level of empathy in the spring when accounting for previous levels of empathy in the fall. In addition, a higher variability in engaged support for learning was negatively related to the empathy. The results emphasize the importance of active facilitation, well-timed feedback, and verbally rich support by teachers in promoting toddlers’ empathy throughout one’s daily activities, hence at testing to both the quality and consistency of such practices. The results are particularly useful for initial teacher training and in-service training.

Keywordsearly childhood education and careteacher-pupil relationshipsocial interactionchild developmentsocial developmentsocial skillsempathytoddlers

Free keywordsteacher-child interaction; variability in teacher-child interaction; social competence; empathy; toddlers

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 17:26