What Do the Experts Say?
Children's Perspectives on Wellbeing in Schools
Keywords:wellbeing, school, Denmark, student perspectives, qualitative method
In this paper, we explore children’s perspectives on wellbeing at school through a multimodal, qualitative research design. Forty-seven students from Years 2, 4 and 6 in a public school in Denmark shared their insights regarding their own wellbeing in school through written accounts and videos, as well as other articulations such as drawings, paintings and Lego models. The analysis makes use of an “extended” conceptualization of wellbeing at school, which integrates four entangled dimensions: being, belonging, becoming and agency, with aspects of the wholeschool material and social environment. The analysis shows that children experience wellbeing as an embodied, multifaceted phenomenon embedded in the school context but also connected with their lives outside of school. Furthermore, the analysis points to the importance of relationships at school for wellbeing but also the significance of teacher guidance as well as the sense of safety and trust facilitated by the school staff. School facilities, workload, rhythms, time schedules and numerous transitions also play pivotal roles in student experiences of wellbeing. Finally, the findings demonstrate that in students’ views, their involvement in and consequential influence on decision-making at school as a whole is decisive for their sense of wellbeing.