School Psychology Review

Teacher-Child Relationships and Children's Success in the First Years of School

Robert C. Pianta, Megan W. Stuhlman

pp. 444-458

Mini-Series: Current Perspectives on School-Based Behavioral Interventions

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Abstract. This work examines associations between closeness and conflict in teacher–child relationships and children’s social and academic skills in first grade in a sample of 490 children. Assessments of teacher–child relationships were obtained in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Results demonstrate moderate correlations among teachers’ ratings of conflict and slightly lower correlations among teachers’ ratings of closeness across years. Hierarchical regression analyses predicted children’s skills in first grade from teacher–child relationship quality.Child gender, socioeconomic status, and preschool estimates of outcomes of interest were controlled statistically. Although preschool assessments of social and academic skills were closely associated with individual skill differences at first grade,teacher–child relationship quality also was associated with changes in skill levels.Findings generally confirm that teacher–child relationships play a role in children’s ability to acquire the skills necessary for success in school.