Wellbeing incorporates both physical and psychological aspects and is central to belonging, being and becoming. Without a strong sense of wellbeing it is difficult to have a sense of belonging, to trust others and feel confident in being, and to optimistically engage in experiences that contribute to becoming.
Wellbeing includes good physical health, feelings of happiness, satisfaction and successful social functioning. It influences the way children interact in their environments. A strong sense of wellbeing provides children with confidence and optimism which maximise their learning potential. It encourages the development of children’s innate exploratory drive, a sense of agency and a desire to interact with responsive others.
Wellbeing is correlated with resilience, providing children with the capacity to cope with day-to day stress and challenges. The readiness to persevere when faced with unfamiliar and challenging learning situations creates the opportunity for success and achievement.
Children’s learning and physical development is evident through their movement patterns from physical dependence and reflex actions at birth, to the integration of sensory, motor and cognitive systems for organised, controlled physical activity for both purpose and enjoyment.
Children’s wellbeing can be affected by all their experiences within and outside of their early childhood settings. To support children’s learning, it is essential that educators attend to children’s wellbeing by providing warm, trusting relationships, predictable and safe environments, affirmation and respect for all aspects of their physical, emotional, social, cognitive, linguistic, creative and spiritual being. By acknowledging each child’s cultural and social identity, and responding sensitively to their emotional states, educators build children’s confidence, sense of wellbeing and willingness to engage in learning.
Children’s developing resilience and their ability to take increasing responsibility for self-help and basic health routines promote a sense of independence and confidence. As they experience being cared for by educators and others, they become aware of the importance of living and learning interdependently with others.
Learning about healthy lifestyles, including nutrition, personal hygiene, physical fitness, emotions and social relationships is integral to wellbeing and self-confidence. Physical wellbeing contributes to children’s ability to concentrate, cooperate and learn. As children become more independent they can take greater responsibility for their health, hygiene and personal care and become mindful of their own and others’ safety. Routines provide opportunities for children to learn about health and safety. Good nutrition is essential to healthy living and enables children to be active participants in play. Early childhood settings provide many opportunities for children to experience a range of healthy foods and to learn about food choices from educators and other children. Physical activity and attention to fine and gross motor skills provide children with the foundations for their growing independence and satisfaction in being able to do things for themselves.
- Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing
- Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing