Authors: Andrea Ritoša, Lena Almqvist, Henrik Danielsson & Mats Granlund


Research Findings: This study examined the engagement of 494 preschool children in Sweden (M = 53.44 months, SD = 10.64) using both teacher questionnaires to measure global engagement (trait) and observations to measure momentary engagement (state). Using a person-oriented approach with cluster analysis, we identified five distinct profiles of global and momentary engagement, with four of them showing discrepancies between global and observed engagement levels. We found that age, hyperactivity, and second language learner (SLL) status were related to a specific engagement profile. Specifically, children high in hyperactivity tended to be in clusters with higher momentary engagement than global engagement, whereas second language learners were overrepresented in clusters with lower momentary engagement.

Practice or Policy: The findings suggest that global and observed measures of engagement capture different aspects of children’s engagement and should not be used interchangeably. Children with low engagement ratings on both measures of engagement are more likely to have an extreme score on the global engagement measure, indicating
that difficulties they experience will be more noticeable in their global engagement. On the other hand, displays of high levels of momentary engagement could signal children’s inherent potential, prompting tailored encouragement and support within Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) settings and promoting their overall engagement levels.