The teacher-child relationship may serve important support functions for young children in their attempts to adjust to the school environment. A sample of kindergarten children (N = 206, mean age = 5.58 years) and their teachers participated in the present study, which was designed to examine how three distinct features of the teacher-child relationship (closeness, dependency, and conflict) were related to various aspects of children's school adjustment. Dependency in the teacher-child relationship emerged as a strong correlate of school adjustment difficulties, including poorer academic performance, more negative school attitudes, and less positive engagement with the school environment. In addition, teacher-rated conflict was associated with teachers' ratings of children's school liking, school avoidance, self-directedness, and cooperative participation in the classroom. Finally, teacher-child closeness was positively linked with children's academic performance, as well as teachers' ratings of school liking and self-directedness. The findings highlight the importance of considering various features of children's relationships with classroom teachers when examining young children's school adjustment.
- School adjustment
- Teacher-child relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology