Early Childhood Research Quarterly
In the preschool period, interactions between teachers and children are an essential input for healthy development. However, it is not well understood how the qualifications of preschool teachers contribute to child development during the preschool period, and previous international studies have returned mixed results. We drew on data from a longitudinal study of 1031 preschool children age 49–65 months in rural China to examine the associations between teacher qualifications and the development of preschool children. The findings showed that 36% of preschool children in the sample are developmentally delayed.Overall, teacher qualifications (education level, specialization in early childhood education, professional ranking, experience and training) were significantly associated with preschool-age child developmental outcomes. Teacher professional ranking and educational attainment were positively and significantly correlated with two measures of child language development, but a degree specialized in early child-hood education was negatively related to vocabulary acquisition. No significant correlations were found between teacher experience or teacher training and child developmental outcomes. The study concludes that policymakers should encourage highly educated and professionally ranked teachers to serve in rural preschools in order to improve the development of preschool children.