2.2. Measures
This protocol is extracted from research article:
Emotional Competence of Early Childhood Educators and Child Socio-Emotional Wellbeing
Int J Environ Res Public Health, Jul 18, 2021; DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18147633

The emotional socializer task of the educator was assessed through the CEESQ (Crèche Educator Emotional Style Questionnaire; [25,26]). The CEESQ is a self-report questionnaire with two sections; each item is scored on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (rarely or never) to 5 (very often). The first section refers to the capacity of the educator to respond to children’s emotions and support them in emotional regulation and it has 3 sub-scales:

Coaching, comprising 7 items (awareness, acceptance and regulation of the children’s emotions. Example: “When a child is angry, it is an opportunity for getting close”)

Dismissing, comprising 5 items (little awareness of the children’s emotions, idea that negative emotions are inappropriate and tendency to ignore them. Example: “The children will learn to manage their emotions by themselves”)

Self-efficacy as emotional socializer, comprising 6 items (assessment of oneself as being capable of differentiating the emotional status of the children and helping them understand and manage emotions. Example: “I can get the children to express all of their emotions”).

The reliability coefficients for the three sub-scales are α = 0.69, α = 0.63, and α = 0.81, respectively, and are sufficiently in line with the psychometric characteristics reported by the authors (α = 0.75, α = 0.78, and α = 0.70, respectively).

The second section refers to the emotional competence of the educator and consists of two sub-scales:

Personal emotional self-efficacy of the educator, comprising 10 items (awareness and ability to manage one’s own emotions. Example: “I am able to express what I feel”).

Denial of emotions, comprising 4 items (failure to accept one’s own emotions. Example: “I perceive my negative emotions as something to defend myself against”).

The reliability coefficients of these two sub-scales are α = 0.82 and α = 0.57, respectively, in line with the Italian instrument validation data (α = 0.86 and α = 0.59, respectively).

To assess the educators’ knowledge of the development of young children and parenting, the Italian version [37] of the KIDI (Knowledge of Infant Development Inventory; [38]), was used. Subjects indicate the degree to which they agree or disagree with each of the statements, or opt for ‘not sure’. The scoring allocates 1 point for each correct answer, −1 for each incorrect answer and 0 points for each ‘not sure’. Two sub-scales were administered in this study:

Principles (17 items): contains affirmations, axioms and clichés, regarding development processes. Items regarding the description of general abilities as well as typical and atypical development were also included under this section (e.g., “Babies only understand words they can say”).

Parenting (14 items): these items concern instrumental beliefs about parenting strategies, infant management and responsibilities of being a parent (e.g., “Fathers are naturally clumsy when it comes to taking care of babies”).

The KIDI has been determined to have an internal consistency that ranges from 0.50 for professional caregivers to 0.82 for parents and the test-retest reliability coefficient ranges 0.80–0.92 [38]. The KIDI is comparable with other measures of caregiver knowledge of child development thereby demonstrating construct validity [39]. In our study, the reliability coefficients of the two sub-scales are α = 0.58.

The “Information Sources Questionnaire”, prepared specifically starting from the catalogue of previous experience with infants [38], was used to investigate the sources of information applied by educators to gain knowledge about children. Educators were asked to indicate, on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from ‘nothing’ to ‘very much’, what they had learnt about children from a series of 7 sources: family (parents, siblings, grandparents); friends or other adults with children; their partner; mass media (radio, television, films); doctors, nurses, midwives; teachers/educators; the reading of articles or books. The reliability coefficient of the scale is α = 0.69.

The social skills of the children at the day-care were assessed using the QPI (Questionnaire on Peer Interactions; [40,41]), validated in the Italian context. It consists of 22 items that assess the ability to interact with peers. Educators indicate the frequency of each behavior according to a 4-point Likert scale (1. ‘rarely’ to 4. ‘very often’). The QPI assigns scores on four scales: 1. Negative social behaviors, 7 items (example: “physically attacks the other children”); 2. Positive social behaviors, 5 items (example: “if a playmate is crying for any reason, he/she approaches him/her and tries to console him/her”); 3. Difficulties in social participation, 5 items (example: “he/she needs to be solicited by the educator in order to play with the others”); 4. Popularity, 5 items (example: “the other children spontaneously seek to involve him/her in playing together”). By re-encoding the items that indicate negative behaviors (so that high values indicate a lower occurrence), we have also identified a global index of social skills, given by the sum of the single scores [42]. The reliability coefficients of the scales are: Negative social behaviors: α = 0.57; Positive social behaviors: α = 0.77; Difficulties in social participation: α = 0.63; Popularity: α = 0.83; Global index: α = 0.77.

To assess the quality of the emotional bond between educator and child, a questionnaire was used drawn from the AQS (Attachment Q-sort; [43]) and proposed by Cassibba and D’Odorico [44]. The questionnaire comprises 29 items that allow for the observation and recording of child’s secure behaviors toward educator at the day-care center. Each item describes a typical behavior evidencing a secure relationship between the child and the educator (e.g., “If the child is angry or hurt, he/she prefers to be consoled by his/her reference educator rather than by other adults”) and the educator indicates, on a 5-point Likert scale, the degree of similarity with the behavior of the observed child (from ‘very different’ to ‘very similar’). The total score was calculated, given by the sum of the answers given to each item. Higher scores suggest attachment relationships characterized by greater security with the educator. The reliability coefficient of the scale is α = 0.89.

To assess the relationship and communication between day-care center and children’s families, the specifically constructed “Questionnaire on The Relationship Between Services and Families” (QRS-F) was used. It comprises 15 items identified on the basis of previous literature on the topic [45] (for example: “Meetings are organized with families to provide an opportunity for listening and comparing ideas on educational matters”) and subjects indicate the degree to which they agree with them, on a 5-point Likert scale (from ‘not at all’ to ‘very much’). The reliability coefficient of the scale is α = 0.79.

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