Analyzing Drawings to Explore children’s Concepts of an Ideal School: Implications for the Improvement of children’s Well-Being at School

Abstract

Because not much is known about children’s subjective well-being (SWB) in educational spaces, our objective was to analyze children’s drawings of their ideal school environment, emphasizing the importance of obtaining the children’s perspective. To do so, we analyzed Luxembourgish primary school children’s drawings (n = 150; age 10) using visual grounded theory methodology. The results were centered on 10 main underlying themes that indicated children’s conceptualizations of their dream school in which particular attention was paid to the design of the school buildings, playgrounds, and classrooms. Children’s written inputs showed the boundaries of visual expression, as they mentioned different desires beyond those conveyed by the drawings. In addition to fancy aesthetics of the school environment, material conditions such as playground facilities were found to be a significant part of the children’s dream schools. Our analyses offer meaningful insights into children’s perceptions of an educational environment that fosters well-being, thereby functioning as a blueprint for adults’ efforts to improve schools in a more child-friendly manner.

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Notes

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    We will use the children’s original spelling, even though these spellings are often characterized by a mixed use of languages and spelling errors.

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Funding

This research was funded by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (Grant Number INTER/SMF/14/9857103) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant Number 100019L_159979).

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Correspondence to Kevin Simoes Loureiro.

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Loureiro, K.S., Grecu, A., de Moll, F. et al. Analyzing Drawings to Explore children’s Concepts of an Ideal School: Implications for the Improvement of children’s Well-Being at School. Child Ind Res 13, 1387–1411 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-019-09705-8

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Keywords

  • Children’s drawings
  • Primary school
  • Educational spaces
  • Subjective well-being
  • Qualitative methods