The seven-factor model of personality developed by Cloninger and colleagues describes personality as a function of developmental aspects of character superimposed on heritable dimensions of temperament. The objective of this study was to determine whether this model could be applied to early childhood. We tested a preschool version of the Temperament and Character Inventory (the preschool TCI) in 305 children aged 2-5 years. Exploratory factor analysis provided support for the presence of distinct domains of temperament (comprising four factors) and character (comprising three factors). The preschool TCI demonstrated high internal consistency for each of the seven factors (Cronbach's α values: 0.70-0.93). Inter-individual differences in novelty seeking, reward dependence and cooperativeness were highly preserved (Pearson's r values 0.75, 0.64 and 0.80, respectively) in 29 subjects who were studied over a 3-year period from toddlerhood to early school age. Future studies are warranted to test the extent to which early childhood measurements of the seven factors might predict the development of personality disorders.