Identifying Classroom Friendships: Teachers’ Confidence and Agreement With Children

Lori E. Meyer, Michaelene M. Ostrosky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We conducted an exploratory study to investigate teachers’ confidence and agreement with children when teachers and children identified close classroom friendships. Participants comprised six kindergarten teachers and 110 children, including 26 children with disabilities. Data were gathered from a friendship nomination questionnaire completed by teachers and a friendship nomination task completed by children. On average, teachers accurately identified one peer that a target child also named as a “best friend.” Teachers also identified children selected as “very best friends” for 59% of their students when using a less conservative definition of very best friendship. Teachers reported being confident in identifying friendships, on average, for 39% of their class. However, greater confidence did not equate with more accurate reports. Although teachers were slightly more confident in their friendship reports for children with disabilities, they were also less accurate. Implications for supporting friendship development and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-104
Number of pages11
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • disabilities
  • early childhood
  • friendships
  • kindergarten
  • peer relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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