The interactions young children have with teachers, peers, and tasks in early care and education (ECE) settings support development of social and academic skills. The degree to which families and teachers partner to support children’s development may contribute to child engagement. The current study aims to expand our understanding of family-teacher relationships and their association with children’s engagement in (ECE). Using data from Oregon’s Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) Validation Study, a sample of 492 preschool-aged children in center-based care and their families and teachers participated. The quality of children’s engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks was directly observed in the classroom and parents reported on the family-teacher relationship through a survey. Multilevel models were used to examine the association between three central aspects of family-teacher relationships (i.e., attitudes, knowledge, and practices) and four outcome variables representing children’s engagement with teachers, peers, tasks, and self-reliance in ECE classrooms. Results indicate a positive significant relation between the practices aspect of family-teacher relationships and children’s positive engagement with teachers. Although this association was not causal, it suggests that practices between families and teachers such as collaboration, communication, responsiveness, and family-focused concern, may help teachers and children engage more positively with one another. There were no other significant findings. Findings are discussed, limitations addressed, and future directions provided.
Funding Statement (additional comments about funding)
Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System Validation Study was funded through the Oregon Department of Education, with federal support from Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant. This project is not part of the Oregon QRIS Validation Study.