Responsiveness of Child Care Providers in Interactions With Toddlers and Preschoolers Purpose: This exploratory study investigated the responsive language input of 26 child care providers to young children enrolled in community child care centers. Method: Three subtypes of responsive interaction strategies were rated and compared across two age groups (toddlers, preschoolers) and two naturalistic contexts (book reading, play dough activity). The ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2002
Responsiveness of Child Care Providers in Interactions With Toddlers and Preschoolers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Luigi Girolametto
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Elaine Weitzman
    The Hanen Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Contact author: Luigi Girolametto, Department of Speech- Language Pathology, University of Toronto, 500 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1V7.
    Contact author: Luigi Girolametto, Department of Speech- Language Pathology, University of Toronto, 500 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1V7.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: l.girolametto@utoronto.ca
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2002
Responsiveness of Child Care Providers in Interactions With Toddlers and Preschoolers
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2002, Vol. 33, 268-281. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2002/022)
History: Received March 5, 2002 , Accepted July 30, 2002
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2002, Vol. 33, 268-281. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2002/022)
History: Received March 5, 2002; Accepted July 30, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 81

Purpose: This exploratory study investigated the responsive language input of 26 child care providers to young children enrolled in community child care centers.

Method: Three subtypes of responsive interaction strategies were rated and compared across two age groups (toddlers, preschoolers) and two naturalistic contexts (book reading, play dough activity). The toddlers were between 17 and 33 months of age and the preschoolers were between 30 and 53 months of age. Caregiver-child interactions were rated using the Teacher Interaction and Language Rating Scale (Girolametto, Weitzman, & Greenberg, 2000) to provide information about the frequency of responsive language strategies.

Results: Caregivers used similar levels of child-centered and interaction-promoting strategies with both age groups, but used more labelling with toddlers and more topic extensions with preschoolers. The context of the interaction exerted a systematic influence on the caregivers' use of responsive strategies, with the play dough activity providing the most responsive input overall. There was a strong positive relationship between all three subtypes of caregivers' responsiveness and variation in the preschoolers' language productivity. In contrast, only interaction-promoting strategies were positively related to measures of the toddlers' language productivity.

Clinical Implications: The results of this study suggest that caregivers' responsiveness in group interactions is highly dependent on the context of the interaction and, to a lesser extent, on the language abilities of the children. Future research is required to determine if inservice training can enhance levels of responsiveness and accelerate language learning in young children in group care.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This study was sponsored by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The investigators are grateful to all speech-language pathologists who provided input to the rating scale, in particular Janice Greenberg, Barbara Wylde, Alisa Vermin, Lauren Chisholm, and Cheri Rorabeck of The Hanen Centre. Thanks to Lisa Hoaken, Donna Duff, Sophie Kaegi, Riet van Lieshout, Christiane Kyte, Maureen O’Keefe, and Megan Wiigs for their assistance in scale development, subject recruitment, data collection, data entry, and/or coding. Appreciation is also extended to Sue Elgie for help with statistical analysis and to Tyler Smith and Maria Brea-Spahn for creating and editing the figures. Above all, the investigators are grateful to the child care providers and children who participated in this study.
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