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 editors: Salminen, Jenni; Pakarinen, Eija; Poikkeus, Anna-Maija; Laakso, Marja-Leena; Lerkkanen, Marja-Kristiina

Journal or series: Journal of Early Childhood Education Research

eISSN: 2323-7414

Publication year: 2022

Volume: 11

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 38-67

Publisher: Suomen varhaiskasvatus ry

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: https://journal.fi/jecer/article/view/114006

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open 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.

Keywords: early childhood education and care; teacher-pupil relationship; social interaction; child development; social development; social skills; empathy; toddlers

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

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:55