Teacher–Child Interactions in Infant/Toddler Child Care and Socioemotional Development

Jennifer A. Mortensen, Melissa A Barnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Research Findings: The teacher–child relationships that develop in infant/toddler child care provide a critical caregiving context for young children’s socioemotional development. However, gaps remain in researchers’ understanding of the individual-level processes that facilitate socioemotional development, specifically in center-based child care programs. Guided by ecological theory, this article offers a review of the current literature on this topic, including influential factors and developmental outcomes associated with teacher–child interaction quality, the teacher–child relationship as a compensatory mechanism for children facing risk, and differential susceptibility to caregiving experiences. Practice or Policy: Within the context of infant/toddler child care, many opportunities exist for researchers to refine the measurement of individual teacher–child interactions, test young children’s self-regulation as an outcome variable, and develop understanding of compensatory and differential susceptibility mechanisms. Clarifying these processes will inform early childhood education teacher training in terms of how teachers can best facilitate healthy socioemotional outcomes, especially for the most vulnerable children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-229
Number of pages21
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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