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‘How Are They Doing? A Community Perspective on Child Well-Being’ indicates that children from traditionally disadvantaged areas are performing better than expected.

The study, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, surveyed more than 850 student from disadvantaged areas in Clondalkin, Drogheda and Dundalk in an effort to give children an opportunity to talk about their own well-being.

Conducted by Clondalkin-based organisation, Archways, and funded the Blue Skies Initiative in Dublin and The Genesis Programme in Louth, the study examined second, fourth and sixth class children.

The children themselves answered questions on their well-being, self-concept, their cognitive abilities and academic performance while parents and teachers were also quizzed about their perspective on the subject.

Karen Costello, Project Coordinator with Blue Skies Initiative in Clondalkin, said: “This research goes towards giving a voice to children and it’s important that we listen. The children in this study are exceeding expectations academically, are resilient and confident in themselves. However, some children are beginning to struggle emotionally and psychologically as they get older.”

Key findings from the report, which will be launched on National Children’s Day on Monday November 20th, show that local children are performing better than the national norm and are particularly resilient – highly unexpected results given the previous research which indicates that children in marginalised communities are exposed to greater challenges which impact their development.

Ms Costello said: “The results of this current study show that investment in the children of North and Southwest Clondalkin and Louth has made a difference. It is vital that we continue to invest in their futures and provide them with the resources needed to continue to do well and overcome any difficulties they may face.”

The research looks set to change assumptions about children living in traditionally disadvantaged areas, opening a new dialogue around support, early intervention and well-being.

Alice Malone, Quality Assurance Coordinator with The Genesis Programme said: “This study is the first of its kind to be carried out and it is very encouraging to hear that the children’s sense of self is up there with children nationally and that they have high levels of resilience and are doing well academically.”

The full report will be launch in Dublin on November 20th.

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