Effects of Teacher Training on Child Attachment and Development
Attachment theory proposes that a child's initial style of relationship to their primary caregiver affects their future development and relationships with others. Insecure attachment relationships tend to lead to negative developmental outcomes like low social competence and diminished cognitive abilities in school. Recently, studies have focused on the integration model of attachment, which is the idea that children can be attached to multiple caregivers and that a secure relationship with one person can compensate for an insecure parental attachment. The current proposed study will examine the effects of teacher training about attachment on children's attachment style, cognitive ability, and social competence. Eight preschool teachers will be randomly assigned to one of two groups (training or no-training). The training group will receive three 2-hr classes over a 2-week period prior to the start of the school year. The first class will address attachment classifications and consequent child behavior. The second class will discuss methods for teachers to interact with insecurely attached students to try to change their insecure style. The third class will consist of teacher sensitivity training. The no-training group will participate in their standard summer training procedures addressing safety and curriculum. The students of both groups will be measured on attachment, cognition, and social competence at four time periods during the school year. Results will be analyzed to determine if teacher training has an effect on these three important developmental outcomes. If the training group shows increased scores on these three areas, this could indicate that adult training should be universally utilized to prevent the negative developmental outcomes usually associated with child attachment insecurity.