Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 25:6 (2017), pp. 866–884.

doi: 10.1080/1350293X.2017.1380884


Copyright © 2017 European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA). Used by permission.


The current study aimed to examine the associations between teacher presence and social scaffolding and preschool children’s peer interactions. Using a time sampling method, peer interactions of 22 four- and five-year-old preschoolers (12 girls; Mage = 52.95 months) and teacher behavior were observed on two different days during various classroom activities in seven public preschool classrooms. Eco-behavioral analyses revealed that (a) teacher presence was negatively associated with positive peer interactions; (b) teacher absence was positively associated with negative peer interactions; (c) positive change of peer interactions was more likely to occur when the teacher was present; (d) children showed more positive peer interactions during child-directed activities than during adult-directed activities or daily routines and transitions; and (e) teacher’s social scaffolding was positively associated with children’s positive peer interactions although it occurred only for 3.61% of the intervals during which the teacher was in close proximity to children. In addition, although the likelihood for children’s positive interaction was over 2 times higher in child-directed activities in comparison to adult-directed activities, teacher presence still seems very important for inhibiting negative peer interactions.