Questionnaires - Smiley
A tool for teacher’s to screen children’s emotions and safety-

The teacher’s tool is named Smiley and three different versions have been created during the project: an electronic, poster and paper versions. An idea of the smiley is to map child’s emotions in preschool, at home and in an electronic version also on the way to preschool. Regular charting of children’s emotions enables an early intervention if needed, and also helps in emotional education when the children learn to recognize their emotions.

Overall benefits of Smiley

  • When the teacher is aware of children’s emotions, it enables early intervention in bullying or other violence. If some child is continually choosing an emotion of fear or sadness in relation to a certain environment, the teacher can discuss the issue with the child and evaluate the need for cooperation with the child’s parents. 
  • The Smiley tool also helps children to recognize and talk about feelings.
  • The results of Smiley can be used in discussions with parents about child’s wellbeing
  • Children might have questions about emotions lacking in this tool. These are good discussion openers to broaden the awareness and meanings of different feelings together with the class.
  • Children will learn how to deal with different feelings. For example, if the icon “being afraid” is often chosen by someone, it is crucial to explore what causes the fear and whether there is some emotional need behind the feeling that should be satisfied (e.g. a need for security or a need for respect). It can then be discussed what could be done to change the child’s experience of emotion in a more positive direction.

The Smiley screening tool has three different versions:

>Individual Paper Smiley

Every child has her/his own Smiley paper for each week to be filed twice every day in a personal folder. The child can make an entry about her/his feelings in the morning when arriving (reflections related to home and/or the trip to daycare/school) and also in the afternoon when leaving (reflections related to daycare/school). The children’s answers are checked regularly and possibly discussed with the child in question and, if necessary, with the child’s parents as well.  


  • Individual paper version is usually more suitable for daily use with small children than the electronic version, due to limited access to computers and mobile phones of children in this age group..
  • Individual paper version gives more intimacy for children to use Smiley individually if for instance all children do not want to show their answers to everybody.
  • Compared with e-version, the paper version can be evaluated every day if needed. This is important, because small children rarely remember what has happened a couple of days ago.  

Challenges: It is important to consider over how long the observation period will take place so that the children do not get bored with the smiley and that the teacher remembers to evaluate each child‘s paper regularly.

>Poster Smiley

Poster Smiley is a paper sheet on the class wall where every child has her/his name and records her/his feelings on a daily basis with smileys of different feelings such as happy, sad, calm, or scared or angry. The poster is recommended to be filled in in the morning and before leaving school.


  • The poster is easy to fill in and always available.
  • Filling in the poster smiley can provide an opportunity to launch a discussion on feelings.
  • It can be also used directly by the teacher in the classroom when the child expresses her/his mood.
  • Teachers can easily collect data about each child's choices.


  • Everybody can see each other‘s feelings and it needs to be noted that some children do not want to show their real feelings to everybody by filling in the Smiley poster.
  • It was also noted that some children, most often some boys, want to get respect or status by drawing e.g. an angry face even if it is not their true feeling but a part of constructing agency considered masculine.

 | Paper and a poster version  |

>Electronic Smiley

The idea in e-Smiley is that the child chooses prevalent emotions related to home, daycare/school and the school trip by clicking the figure illustrating her/his feeling in those contexts. The information is sent electronically to the teacher or daycare worker who checks the children’s answers once a week and intervenes if there is cause for concern with some of the children. E-Smiley should be used regularly, for example once a week over a longer period.


  • Electronic format motivates children to answer.
  • The data is in electronic form and is easily available and analysed as well as stored.
  • This form can be used also in mobile phones.
  • E-Smiley can be filled also at home with parents.


  • Difficult to use on daily basis due to limited access to computers.
  • It is challenging to organise the filling of e-Smiley as part of daily routine.
  • The collecting of the data has to be adapted in each school’s database, or more funding is needed to develop this system so that it could be easily adapted to shared database. 

E-smiley was piloted during Allies-project.  

Child Group

Healthcare Checklist

Smiley (pdf)
-Paper/poster smiley
Smiley instructions
Experiences of Smiley