Measuring interactional quality in pre-school settings: introduction and validation of the Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Wellbeing (SSTEW) scale
Research increasingly acknowledges the importance of high quality interactions that support and extend children's thinking. Few measurement tools currently exist, however, to capture this specific aspect of process quality. The Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Wellbeing (SSTEW) scale was developed to assess interactional quality in early childhood education and care, and it includes dimensions of process quality based on developmental theories and practice in effective settings. This study compared ratings on the SSTEW and Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Extension (ECERS-E) to consider the impact of varying levels of curricular and interactional quality on child development in 45 Australian pre-school centres; namely the language, numeracy and socio-behavioural development of 669 children at the end of their pre-school year. Results indicated a level of predictive validity for interactional quality ratings as measured by SSTEW which, while related to curricular quality ratings on ECERS-E, differed in associations across domains of child development.