Introduction: This paper deals with an important aspect of preschool teachers’ everyday professional life - interacting with children during educational activities in kindergarten environment. The research of real situations in kindergarten, still rare in Czech pedagogical discourse, indicates the limitedness of preschool teachers’ communication following already fixed communication structures and patterns. There is not much evidence that teacher-child communication in kindergarten is initiated by children with any frequency. The aim of our research study is to describe preschool children’s initiations in communication with preservice preschool teachers and identify teachers’ strategies in mutual communication. Methods: The research is based on qualitative analysis of data obtained through participated unstructured observation (37 video recordings of micro educational situations with the duration of 3 to 15 minutes were collected) and written reflection of pre-service preschool teachers (55 participants). Each part of the observation took place in a different class of a standard kindergarten. In one case, it was a homogeneous class of children aged 5-6 years, and in the second, a heterogeneous class with children aged between 3 and 5 years. Our data material in the form of written reflections and transcribed video recordings was then processed through the qualitative content analysis. Results: Research results show children breaking the communication structure managed by the teacher, and the teacher’s strategies in these situations. We identified five main circumstances of preschool children’s initiations as communicating their own experiences or associations related to the topic presented by the teacher. Discussion: Our findings show a certain range of responses of future teachers to children’s initiation in interaction during educational activities. Besides evidence of releasing communication in terms of teacher management, less suitable kinds of responses to children’s initiation appear. The teacher is not able to give up control over the ongoing communication. Limitations: Selected research sample consists of pre-service teachers, who represent only a partial sample of potential interactions in the kindergarten environment. Thus, to some teachers, the findings apply only partially in practice; with other teachers, we could possibly expand our research even deeper. This choice to use only a partial sample reflects both practicality and the need to improve the competence of future teachers through recording their unscripted interactions with children. Conclusions: Children need teachers who are sensitive to their initiations and offer space for children to initiate communication. If we want to have students at the primary and secondary levels of education with developed life skills and the ability to discuss and argue, we need to offer such manner of communication as early as in kindergartens.
- teacher-child communication in kindergartens
- preschool teacher
- preservice teacher
- children’s initiation
- communication structure