Early Years Wellbeing Week 2020
Early Years Wellbeing Week 2020, 5-11 October shines a spotlight on mental health and wellbeing for the sector as we seek to raise awareness, educate, influence and inform.
#EYWellbeingWeek is about prevention because we know there is still a lack of understanding around mental health and wellbeing within the sector. That lack of awareness means that the demands that come from working in early years can take us from wellness to illness without realising it. We must embrace preventive measures rather than deal with reactive measures when we are experiencing mental health issues, such as stress, exhaustion, insomnia, burnout and that may lead to mental illness such as anxiety and depression.
What we are saying is that we know our workforce needs much more support when it comes to taking care of their own wellbeing – by our very nature we are better at taking care of other people than we are ourselves!
We hope to champion a culture of balance between work and life, enabling us to feel satisfied, happy and healthy, and therefore provide the highest quality opportunities for children in our care.
“Just to say THANK YOU! Thank you for acknowledging the struggles all teachers go through and the effect it can have on our mental wellbeing. I am an early years teacher, 6 years into my career now and I adore it. But I also live with anxiety, which at times can turn into a depression. I’m not ashamed to say that. I own it. I use to enhance my practice within my classroom for my little people. But some days are HARD. Thank you for recognising this and providing a platform to share and talk about it.”
What we do every day at work matters and contributes to how happy and healthy we feel!
There are small gestures we can do to show that we care and value our early years family and show our appreciation:
- wellbeing Wednesdays, a good excuse for a mid-week check-in
- nutrition matters, meals provided, breakfast & lunch
- wellbeing walks
- staff baskets with personal items for self-care, health & hygiene
- wellbeing displays and information folders that promote physical & mental health
- staff shout-out board
- thank you notes, letters, flowers & gift vouchers
- team building linked to staff wellbeing
- employee assistance programmes (EAP)
These lovely thoughtful gestures will go some way in showing people that you work with that you care, and most certainly will make them smile! For how long though? Ultimately it is the consistent everyday practice that embeds high-quality practice, policies and procedures that leads to job satisfaction and high levels of wellbeing.
How well staff are supported and provided with all of the necessary information right from the start, through induction, mentoring, training and support in order to fulfil their role. In other words, it’s the big stuff:
Your pedagogy: the everyday ethos and philosophy that you all follow, that underpins all you do. Led by a leadership team with a clear vision of intent, how you implement it and the impact it makes for all staff, children and families. It is the consistent and fair management of all staff that creates a mentally healthy workplace that promotes trust, respect and dignity.
It is the core values and principles that you follow daily – with the wellbeing of staff, children and families at the heart.
Truth be told, wellbeing is not something that can be ticked off as part of a to-do-list or achieved in a week. We have every right to feel sceptical about one-off wellbeing days and be must careful not to plan ill-thought-out activities that staff are forced or cajoled into taking part in. #EYWellbeingWeek is the opportunity to educate and raise awareness and encourage us to think about our own mental health and wellbeing and that of our community.
We also know that the unprecedented circumstances of this of the year with COVID combined with the usual demands means of the role, meaning we are experiencing unrelenting pressure and stress. We are virtually holding hands with our workforce, families and children – to raise mental health awareness and support you through this challenging and worrying time. Now more than ever our sector needs to shine the spotlight on mental health – for the wellbeing of staff and for all children and families.
Join in and join voices with EY professionals every day across the week, use the hashtags to join in, find and follow each day on social media. #EYWellbeingWeek
For more information click on the image below
In May, we celebrated Early Years Mental Health Awarness Week inline with the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week. We put together some wonderful resources from contributions from early years professionals, we have kept this accessible for you at this time. Please access by clicking on the images below.