«Kids Do Well If They Can» – Guiding Principles in Health Promoting Work in Kindergartens and Schools

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2020)
Title: «Kids Do Well If They Can» – Guiding Principles in Health Promoting Work in Kindergartens and Schools
Stream: Learning Experiences, Student Learning & Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Eva-Kristin Paschen-Eriksen, HBS Agder, Norway


In the programme Healthpromoting Kindergartens and Schools, we work across various educational contexts, and our goal is to facilitate for good mental health where individuals thrive and can develop their potential. The background for this programme was increased mental health challenges among young people. We believe it is important to have a common set of values to create an environment that embraces difference and promotes a positive development. We have developed a set of guiding principles which are as follows: 1)There are no difficult children, only children who are going through difficulties. This principle is inspired by Ross Green’s saying «Kids do well if they can», and it expresses a professional responsibility to act according to what children and young people express through words or action. 2) We see development as a possibility, meaning that it is always possible to influence a situation. 3) We develop solutions together, meaning that children and young people are supported to be actors in their own lives depending on age and matureness. 4) We know that we are all part of the context, meaning that we have to be conscious of our own attitudes and understandings when meeting with others. To ensure that the different participants in the programme work according to the same principles, we gathered different professionals from the education and health sectors, and used a method called Dialogue Cafe to discuss the four principles. In this presentation, we will elaborate on this process, and how the four guiding principles were understood.