Well-being and Involvement
On Monday 3rd October 2011 Early Childhood Ireland hosted a seminar by Professor Ferre Laevers and Julia Moons, for the Early Childhood Care and Education Sector.
The seminar dealt with the ways in which childcare providers can recognise and measure children’s well-being and involvement.
In the clip below Professor Laevers highlights the importance of these two indicators:
The Process-oriented Child Monitoring System
Well-being and involvement form the basis of the Process-oriented Child Monitoring System, which was developed by the Research Centre for Experiential Education at Leuven University, under the supervision of Professor Laevers.
The system suggests that the most effective way of assessing the quality of any educational setting is to focus on:
the degree of emotional well-being of the children
the level of involvement of the children
In the clip below Professor Laevers describes the Process-oriented Child Monitoring System in action and demonstrates the ways in which this is very “do-able” for practitioners, it simply involves “capitalising on stored information” already at their disposal:
Measuring Well-Being and Involvement
Professor Laevers refers to measuring a child’s well-being and involvement through a five point scale.
Below we have provided a broad outline of the scales for both well-being and involvement, which can be used effectively in conjunction with the relevant training:
The Scale for Well Being
|1||Extremely Low||The child clearly shows signals of discomfort: is angry, cries, screams, looks sad or frightened, hurts him/herself or others, doesn’t respond to the environment and avoids contact.|
|2||Low||The posture, facial expression and actions indicate that the child does not feel at ease. However, the signals are less explicit than under level 1 or the sense of discomfort is not expressed the whole time.|
|3||Moderate||The child has a neutral posture. Facial expression and posture show little or no emotion. There are no signals indicating sadness or pleasure, comfort or discomfort|
|4||High||The child shows obvious signs of satisfaction (as listed under level 5). However, these signals are not constantly present with the same intensity.|
|5||Extremely High||During the observation episode, the child enjoys, in fact it feels great: looks happy and smiles, is spontaneous and expressive, talks to him/herself and sings, is relaxed and open, engaging with the environment and is lively and expresses self-confidence and self-assurance.|
The Scale for Involvement
|1||Extremely Low||The child hardly shows any activity: no concentration, daydreams, has an absent/passive attitude, displays no signs of exploration or interests, doesn’t partake in goal-oriented activity and doesn’t seem to be taking anything in.|
|2||Low||The child shows some degree of activity but which is often interrupted: limited concentration, often looking away during activities and dreaming, is easily distracted and action only leads to limited results.|
|3||Moderate||The child is busy the whole time, but without real concentration: attention is superficial, doesn’t become absorbed in activities and these activities are short lived, limited motivation, does not feel challenged and the child does not use his/her capabilities or imagination to the full extent|
|4||High||There are clear signs of involvement, but these are not always present to their full extent: engaged in activities without interruption, displays real concentration although sometimes the attention can be more superficial, the child feels challenged and motivated, the activities engage the child’s capabilities and imagination to a certain extent.|
|5||Extremely High||During the episode of observation the child is continuously engaged in the activity and completely absorbed in it: completely focused and concentrating on the activity without interruption, highly motivated and perseveres, is alert and shows precision and intense mental activity, not easily distracted, even by strong stimuli, the child addresses his/her full capabilities/imagination and enjoys being engrossed in the activity.|
Adapted from the Sics (Zico) Manual: “Well-Being and Involvement in Care – A Process-oriented Self Evaluation Instrument for Care Settings.”
In the clip below Professor Laevers discusses the differences between his own process-oriented approach to measuring a child’s capabilities, using the scales above, and the more traditional product-oriented approach:
Relevance to Irish Early Childhood Care and Education Settings
This is particularly relevant for Irish early childhood care and education settings because children’s well-being underpins a healthy society and a vibrant economy and consequently, the importance of well-being features highly on Irish and European policy agendas.
The Process-oriented Child Monitoring System deals with concepts and practical approaches to strengthening children’s well-being and it is a way of supporting practitioners in meeting the requirements of Pre-School Regulation 5, as well as the goals of Aistear and Síolta.