Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Human Development, Consumer and Family Sciences


Powell (1991) emphasizes the importance of parent-teacher partnerships as an essential element to children's success in reaching goals of development and enriching the early childhood years. The building of these partnerships is a delicate and sensitive process. Positive communication is a cornerstone upon which these partnerships can be built. The doors to parent-teacher communication can be opened by first understanding parental expectations of teachers' role in children's lives. The primary focus of this study was to investigate parents' and teachers' similarities and differences of perceptions of quality attributes of preschool teachers. This study also examined the relationship between selected demographic variables and parents' and teachers' perceptions of quality attributes. The participants included 204 parents and 81 preschool teachers from fourteen preschool sites across Arizona, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Participants completed a 59-item survey by rating the level of importance of each of the attributes of a quality preschool teacher on a 5 point likert-type scale. Participants' mean score in each category was used for analysis. The six categories included: 1) Professionalism, 2) Teaching strategies and instructional styles, 3) Relationships to other teachers, 4) Family relations, 5) Environment, and 6) Personal qualities. Results revealed significant differences in teachers' and parents' perceptions in two of the six categories. Teachers rated environment and family relations more important than parents. Teachers may prioritize and understand the implications of parent-teacher relationships to a greater degree than parents. Teachers may also have a better understanding of how classroom arrangements and physical surroundings affect learning opportunities and overall developmental success. In addition, results indicated that demographic variables of teachers were not significantly related to the ratings of the attribute categories. However, when assessing the relationship between parent demographic variables and perceptions of quality attributes, marital status was related to professionalism, relationship to other teachers, environment and family relations. Single parents rated these four areas with a higher importance rating than married parents. Single parents may have a stronger need to extend their support systems and use all possible resources. The implications of this study are relevant for both early childhood professionals and parents of preschool-aged children. Parents and preschool teachers need to be cautious in their assumptions about each others' perceptions of quality attributes based on demographic variables. These implications along with other conclusions from this study further supports the need for parent teacher communications about expectations, perceptions, and commitments to each child 's development.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Preschool teachers -- Attitudes Parents -- Attitudes Education, Preschool



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University