This article aims to highlight preschool teachers’ teaching competence as one critical aspect of Swedish preschool quality. The study was based on quality evaluations using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale. Data was collected from 153 preschools and analysed with descriptive statistics for the subscales. The standpoint of the article is that children learn and develop by communicating and interacting with their environment, highlighting how intentions and circumstances between and within systems and contexts affect preschool teaching and conditions for children’s learning. To evaluate high-quality preschool education, two subscales with the lowest quality scores, Language and literacy and Learning activities, were chosen to explore teaching, as they embrace items and criteria that depend on teaching. The results highlight distinct patterns of variation in quality. The competence to teach is a point of intersection for the quality in preschool, and conditions for children’s learning. Areas in need of competence development are subject, and didactic knowledge competence in relating to children in dialogue, child-focused strategies, clarifying and communicating an object of knowledge by integrating play, care, and learning in teaching.
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