Everyone deserves to be happy. One of the most-direct paths to happiness is personal and social wellness, which has physical, cognitive and emotional, as well as environmental elements. For our children to grow, thrive, and become happy and productive members of our community, the people, including teachers, who help to shape them into their future selves must have those same positive elements.
Although a high-quality early childhood workforce is composed of well- trained, healthy, happy and committed teachers, there has been surprisingly little research focused on teacher well-being—especially the physical aspects—and what kinds of workplace support can improve it.
Our “Happy Teacher Project,” funded by the Early Childhood Education Institute and the University of Oklahoma, was launched to fill this void. The Happy Teacher Project takes a holistic and innovative interdisciplinary approach by studying whole teacher well-being, including physical, psychological and professional well-being, and how their working conditions support or undermine these three areas.