Can you measure happiness?
In 2014 the Government published a document called "The Children's Happiness Scale". This research however involved gathering the views of children in care, getting help from social care services, living away from home in boarding schools, residential special schools or residential further education colleges, and care leavers.
But how can we find out if our youngest children in pre-school are happy? Do we know if they are settled and learning as they play?
So how can a child tell us they are happy if they are just developing communication skills?
In our setting we use the Leuven scales alongside our observations. First pioneered by Dr Ferre Laevers and his team at the Research Centre for Experiential Education (Leuven University in Belgium) this tool was developed to help understand how focused and comfortable children were in their environment. The two main indicators we look at are firstly a child's "well-being" which refers to a feeling at ease, being spontaneous and free of emotional tensions, crucial to mental health.
The second indicator is "involvement" which refers to how intensely a child is engaged in a particular activity and is considered to be a necessary condition for deep level learning and development.
More information about these scales can be found at https://www.famly.co/blog/leuven-scales
Our selection of photos indicate that our environment is indeed supporting children's well-being and involvement.