What is wellbeing, and how does it develop? What situations and experiences in the first three years help to build resilient wellbeing in adolescence and young adulthood? This mixed-method research study investigated the development of resilient wellbeing from birth to three. A review of the literature established that children’s very early environments and relationships make a lasting impact on their long-term development. The review generated an ‘a priori’ set of constructs as the components of wellbeing. \ud \ud Three studies were undertaken, with three main objectives: to put to the test the ‘a priori’ constructs, and in the process to elaborate them; to identify situations and experiences from birth to three which facilitated the development of the foundations of wellbeing; and to identify implications for research, policy and practice in relation to the wellbeing of the youngest children and their families. Study 1 was a survey in which one hundred mothers of children under five were interviewed; Study 2 involved nine case study families over a period of twelve months, collecting video and audio data; and Study 3 was a series of focus group seminars in which researchers, policy makers, managers and practitioners were consulted.\ud \ud The ‘companionable’ approach taken in the research was found to be a fruitful process, with the ‘voices’ of the babies and very young children being an important aspect of the video data. The proposed conceptual model was found to be a robust framework within which to explore the development of resilient wellbeing. Among the situations and experiences that were found to be fundamentally important in the development of individual wellbeing were companionable learning, or ‘diagogy’; and companionable play. Wellbeing was found to be not only individual but also collective, in families and in communities
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