Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Document Type


Date of this Version



Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education 25 (2005), pp. 131-142.


Copyright © 2005 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


The present study investigated specific teacher factors that potentially influence teacher–child relationships with preschool-age children. One demographic questionnaire and three rating scales were used to survey 152 head teachers of 3–6-year-old children in community-based childcare and preschool centers in one midwestern state. There were 46 teachers who reported on their relationship with a child with a disability or concerning developmental delay. Positive correlations were found between teacher–child relationships and the teachers’ educational backgrounds, self-reported teaching efficacy, and parent–teacher relationships. The parent–teacher relationship appeared to be the strongest teacher-related factor predicting the quality of teacher–child relationships. Compared to other teachers, the teachers of children with delays or disabilities reported comparable parent– teacher relationships and more positive teacher–child relationships, especially when more than one child with concerns was reportedly enrolled in the classroom. Teachers with children who had developmental delays reported lower teaching efficacy scores. The role of parent–teacher relationships is highlighted as a possible moderator when teachers feel less than capable or positive about individual children in their program.