Paul Watzalwick’s research shows that non-verbal communication represents an essential element in social contact among individuals. In the study carried out in 2009-2010 the relation patterns between pre-school teachers and immigrant children or children of families emigrated to Avignon, a French city, and to Reggio Emilia, an Italian city, were investigated. The purpose of this article is to cast light on the different interaction patterns of educators with children as far as to the different education contexts in which they normally operate. The analysis performed aimed to study the relation between two variables through the calculation of Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient and the analysis of variance (Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests). The use of various analysis tools, such as Likert-type scale questionnaire, participant observation and semi-structured interview, allowed data triangulation. The analysis highlighted statistically significant differences in physical contact between teachers and children in relation to the location of the school, that is suburban vs. centre city schools, ratio of immigrant children and cities, Avignon/Reggio Emilia.
Keywords: Pre-school, France, Italy, non-verbal communication, comparative study