A Child Well-Being Study was carried out by Archways with children, parents and teachers. The aim was to assess children’s social and emotional well-being in 17 primary schools in Clondalkin, where the project was led by the Blue Skies Initiative, and in Drogheda and Dundalk, Co. Louth, where the project was led by the Genesis Programme.
This is a comprehensive study and the largest Child Well Being Study of its kind in Ireland.
This study was undertaken to assess the well-being of children living in disadvantaged communities. Information with respect to children’s self-perception of their well-being was collected. This information serves multiple purposes. It allows us to establish the children’s own view of their strengths, their perceived deficits and most particularly their needs. It also provides us with some indication as to the type of resources and interventions these children might require and allows us to identify the optimal time to introduce these resources.
The findings produced in this study indicate that children living in these areas of disadvantage prove to be highly resilient. They hold a high perception of their well-being and demonstrate a level of academic performance comparable to their peers. However, certain areas of concern were noted. These include emerging behavioural difficulties for children in 4th class and emerging social maladjustment challenges for children in 6th class.
The study involved data collection from three different sources. In the first phase of the study, the children , their teachers and parents each completed a questionnaire assessing various domains of the well-being of children. A measure of resilience was added in the 2nd phase of the study in order to evaluate the possible interaction of and between the children’s self-concept and resilience.
It is generally known that children in marginalised communities are exposed to a series of adversarial challenges in their environment which impact on their development, ultimately resulting in poor outcomes. The evidence, as provided by the current study, challenges the assumption of poor outcomes for children based merely on geographical location or exposure to aspects of demographically disadvantaged areas which have been identified as problematic.
It is hoped that conclusions drawn from the findings will initiate and reframe the current dialogue in relation to well-being and disadvantage. It will contribute to our understanding and highlight the complexities relating to the use of a ‘deficits’ versus ‘strengths’ models in the discourse and analysis of children’s actions, perceptions and interactions with their environment.