Teacher Well-Being and Functionality of Educational Models. A Study of Icelandic Playschools.

This thesis explores the question of how important it is for the well-being and motivation of teachers in early childhood education (ECE) to implement and execute a defined educational model in a functional way.
Existing literature on well-being, motivation, empowerment, functional teams, and the interdependent relationship between teacher and child well-being have been reviewed. Further, different philosophies and pedagogies, common in Icelandic palyschools, have been discussed, among those constructivism, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Hjallastefnan, and the Icelandic National Curriculum Guide (INCG). In the form of a case study, the phenomenon of the relationship between teacher well-being and a functionally implemented defined educational model in the context of three selected playschools in the capital area of Iceland, has been examined. Additionally an open survey (survey monkey) was published on social media, for teachers in Iceland to take part in.
The overall results of this research thesis show that teachers in Icelandic playschools generally feel well. Teachers‘ well-being seems to be negatively affected however, when challenges appear due to dysfunction in their playschool‘s management, organization, and implementation of their educational model. The research further reveals a strong relationship between child and teacher well-being, which indicates the importance for playschools to create a healthy and functional work environment, and that it is not only important to promote the child‘s well-being, but also that of teachers. Playschools need to be more committed in creating functionality in their attempt to implement their educational models. Pedagogies like Waldorf, Hjallastefnan and Reggio Emilia that have clearly defined roles for teachers, and clear defined goals and methods for child development can provide a solid foundation in creating and nurturing functionality in playschools.


Nora Elisabeth C. Jacob
noelchja [at] gmail.com
Advisor:  Ellen Gunnarsdóttir