Early behavioral attributes and teachers' sensitivity as predictors of competent behavior in the kindergarten classroom

Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, Robert C. Pianta, Diane M. Early, Martha J. Cox, Gitanjali Saluja, Robert H. Bradley, Chris Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

121 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examines the importance of early social boldness and wariness as attributes that predict children's behavior in kindergarten. Two questions are addressed: (1) Is there a relation between children's early behavioral style (social boldness and wariness) and their behavior in a kindergarten classroom? and (2) Does kindergarten teachers' sensitivity differentially affect the kindergarten behavior of socially bold and wary children? Ninety-seven children were selected from a sample of 253 as being socially bold (n = 60) or socially wary (n = 37) at 15 months of age. Children identified early as socially bold showed more off-task behavior and were more likely to talk and make requests of the teacher in large-group classroom settings. Socially bold children with more sensitive teachers showed more self-reliant behavior, fewer negative behaviors, and less time off-task compared to socially bold children with less sensitive teachers. There was no relation between teachers' sensitivity and child behavior for socially wary children. The results show that teachers' sensitive responses to children (particularly bold children) were associated classroom adjustment for this group of children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-470
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Competent behavior
  • Early behavioral attributes
  • Kindergarten

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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