Well-Being & Involvement

At Rosemary, we know that children’s early experiences have the greatest impact on life-long health, academic success and personal fulfilment.

We also know that the quality of nursery provision has a long-term effect on children’s educational achievement. So how do we know that we are doing the best we can for our children?
The most important way we evaluate the quality of our provision and its impact on children’s learning is through children’s well-being and involvement levels.

The Leuven ‘signals’ of emotional well-being help us to understand how well we are meeting children’s emotional and social needs. Secure attachment and well-being are essential to mental health and the development of emotional intelligence.

A child whose well-being is high will feel ‘like a fish in water’. (Professor Ferre Laevers)

The ‘signals’ of involvement help us to assess the quality of our curriculum and learning environment. When we see that children are deeply involved, we know that they are likely to be working at the very edge of their capabilities.

It is clear from research that children make the most progress in learning when they experience high well-being and involvement.


We use the following ‘signals’ to help us understand how involved in their learning children are:

The child’s attention is focused on one small area: that of his own activity.  Only intense stimuli from the environment can reach – and possibly distract – him or her.

The child puts a lot of effort and enthusiasm into his/her activity.  This can be physically, eg by talking in a loud voice, by pressing firmly onto the paper, or by building enthusiastically.  Yet it can also be psychologically: by being mentally very active.

Complexity and Creativity
In involved activity, children are at their best.  They work to their full capacity.  As a result, their behaviour is more than just routine activity.  Complexity usually includes creativity: the child responds to the offer in his/her own personal way.

Facial expression and composure
The non-verbal signs of involvement are a great help in the assessment.  Thus, we can make a distinction between children who are staring into space or who are yawning a lot, and those who are very interested and are looking at things intently.  The overall body language can betray exceptional concentration or – alternatively – boredom.

Children who are actively involved in their activity, do not easily give it up.  They want to dwell on the feeling of satisfaction which intense activity gives them, and they are willing to work at keeping it.  They are not easily tempted by other activities, however attractive they may be.  Involved activity usually lasts a long time (dependent on the children’s age and level of development).

Children who are involved show a remarkable care for their work: they give attention to details, they work meticulously.  Children who are not involved often act carelessly as their work does not really matter to them.

Reaction time
The children are alert and readily respond to inviting stimuli.  They jump to work immediately after the presentation of the different activities, thus showing their motivation to proceed to action.
They also respond alertly to new stimuli which occur in the course of the game or task which are relevant to the activity.

Verbal Expression
Sometimes the passing comments which children make indicate whether they are or were involved “That was nice, miss!” or “One more time!”).  And by describing enthusiastically what they are doing and have done they express more implicitly that the activity appeals to them: they can’t help putting into words what they are experiencing, what they have discovered . . .

Involved activity usually involved pleasure.  This pleasure is often implicitly present, but sometimes a child can be seen looking at his work with great satisfaction, touching it lightly