Using emoji as a tool to support child wellbeing from a strengths-based approach

LCJ 21 front cover

Jennifer Fane

LCJ: Special Issue: 2017 30th ACHPER International Conference, 21, pp. 96-107

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Fane, J. (2017). Using emoji as a tool to support child wellbeing from a strengths-based approach. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: 2017 30th ACHPER International Conference], 21, 96-107. DOI:



The assessment, measurement, and support of child wellbeing has garnered a substantive amount of research due to its widespread acceptance as the foundation of healthy development and future health and wellbeing. Despite this sustained interest, current understandings have derived almost exclusively from adult conceptualisations of wellbeing, contributing to the implicit and explicit exclusion of children’s voices in child wellbeing research, policy, and practice. This has resulted in a fundamentally deficit view of children in relation to their health and wellbeing, where child health and wellbeing are benchmarked along developmental trajectories relating largely to skills and school readiness. Despite the pervasiveness of developmental perspectives of health and wellbeing in childhood, however, both national curricula, the Early Years Learning Framework (birth-to-five years of age) and the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education learning area (AC:HPE) (foundation to year 10) (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2013) highlight the need for children to be active and engaged participants in their own and others’ wellbeing, and position children as beings who bring with them personal, relational, and community strengths and assets. This paper reports on a study that used emoji as a child-centred method for eliciting young children’s (n=78) perspectives of their own wellbeing. The findings of the study suggest that a range of young children are able to articulate their own understandings and experiences of wellbeing using emoji, and the value of this tool as a strengths-based approach for meeting curricular outcomes and supporting child wellbeing. This paper provides a rationale for the use of child-centred tools to re-position child wellbeing from a deficit to a strengths-based approach through the facilitation of children’s exploration and communication of their own understandings and experiences of wellbeing.


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