Early Childhood Student–Teacher Relationships: What is the Role of Classroom Climate for Children Who are Disadvantaged?

Amanda L. Moen, Susan M. Sheridan, Rachel E. Schumacher, Katherine C. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The current study reports the results of a study examining the relationship between classroom climate and the development of the student-teacher relationship for young children at-risk. Participants were 267 children and 93 early educators. All children were from low income backgrounds and were experiencing developmental concerns in the area of language, cognition or social-emotional development. Teacher surveys were administered twice during the academic year (fall and spring) during a child’s first preschool year, and observations of classroom climate were conducted in the spring of the same year. Findings indicated that classroom emotional support predicted the development of the student-teacher relationship, such that children in classrooms characterized by higher levels of emotional support experienced greater improvement in the overall relationship and closeness in the relationship, and greater decreases in conflict in the relationship relative to peers in less emotionally supportive classrooms. Classroom organization and instructional support were not found to predict changes in the student-teacher relationship. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-341
Number of pages11
JournalEarly Childhood Education Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Classroom climate
  • Early childhood
  • Student–teacher relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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