Rethinking well-being in ECEC from subject-oriented and sociocultural theoretical perspectives: symposium abstract

Antti Rajala, Niklas Alexander Chimirri, Jaakko Hilppö

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


In recent years, a growing number of studies have provided empirical support for the long-held belief that early childhood education and care (ECEC) has a positive impact on children’s short and long-term well-being (e.g., Sylva et al., 2010). Politicians and other stakeholders have responded to this by implementing various changes in ECEC aimed to better the quality of these services. There are, however, indications that the renewed policies and practices (e.g., the introduction of balanced scorecards or pedagogical documentation) import aspects into the quality discussions concerning ECEC that potentially run counter to their aims (Paananen et al, 2016). One reason for this is arguably that the psychological concepts used in these discussion do not fully grasp the complex processes that constitute the well-being of children and adults engaging in ECEC.
This symposium brings together researchers concerned with questioning existing notions of well-being in ECEC and with developing new conceptualizations that capture its constitutive processes. Together, they argue that although concepts developed in dominant strands of psychology – such as positive psychology – highlight important characteristics of well-being, they have not adequately explicated, for example, the role of children’s agency, the everyday practices and socio-political circumstances underlying well-being in ECEC, or the philosophical grounding of the notion of well-being. While the contributions are joined by their point of departure in subject-oriented and socio-cultural theoretical approaches, each bring their own unique conceptual tools to exploring the issue at hand.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology 2017: The Ethos of Theorizing - Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 21 Aug 201725 Aug 2017
Conference number: 17


ConferenceThe 17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology 2017
LocationRikkyo University
Internet address

Cite this