The aim of this study is to present the main results of some action-research projects realized in a number of day-care centers located in the regional area of Trentino. The aim was of evaluating the socio-emotional well-being of children attending these facilities, considering the point of view of the professional caregivers as well as the parents’ one. The socio-emotional adaptation to the daily life of 331 children was assessed with respect to their temperament, their communication skills, the quality of their play and of the interaction with the professional caregivers. Also the representations that respectively the professionals and the mothers have of their own educational role and of the daily practices of caring have been evaluated. The results indicated that the children show high levels of socio-emotional adjustment, which improve with respect to the educational intervention of the professional caregivers. The quality of their interaction with the adults and with the peers, as well as their social competence significantly vary with respect to age, sex and the length of the attendance to the day-care. The representations of their own role of mothers and professional caregivers appear to be highly correlated each other and with the children’s socio-emotional well-being. Crossing the children’s profiles derived from observation with these representations allowed the carrying out of individual educational projects, based on shared aims, which can be longitudinally monitored.
Keywords: Day-care centers, socio-emotional well-being, observation, representations, professional caregivers, parents.