The relationships preschoolers form with their teachers can predict their school performance in early-elementary school, concludes a new study.
Through statistical analyses of data on nearly 1,000 preschoolers, researchers from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education find that students who experienced conflict with their teachers in preschool were likelier to be referred for special education later on in elementary school—especially for boys whose language skills were low for their age. The study was published this year in the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly.
“A negative, stressful, relational experience in the classroom seems to matter more for later special education referral than other classroom-level measures of the preschool-classroom experience,” the authors write. In comparison, they add, preschool “relationships characterized by closeness have higher levels of warmth, affection, and communication between the teacher and the child and are positively associated with children’s outcomes in literacy, math, and social skills at the end of preschool.”
A version of this article appeared in the June 08, 2016 edition of Education Week as Special Education