Relationships and learning in early childhood education: A structural equation model

Alicia Gordy Westbrook

Abstract

A study of the relationship between mediated learning experiences (MLE), social and emotional development, student-teacher relationships, and overall development using structural equation modeling was conducted. With attachment theory as the theoretical base, the current study proposed that the educational constructs have a direct effect on the overall development of young students and the relationships between the constructs have an indirect effect on overall development. This research suggests that through positive student-teacher relationships, teachers engage students in mediated learning experiences which promotes social and emotional development and effects the students' overall development. Data collected from 118 pre-primary teachers and students were analyzed to confirm the relationship among the educational constructs. Four self-administered questionnaires were used to assess pre-primary teachers' attitude toward MLE, students' social and emotional development, and pre-primary teachers' perceptions of student-teacher relationships. The current study resulted in a significant model that explains the relationship between social and emotional development and student-teacher relationships on the overall development of young students.