How to help an Early Years Team who are on their knees?

The care and teaching of young children is immensely rewarding, bringing with it many delights, giggles and reasons to smile. Seeing those ‘aha’ moments happen, hearing the delight in their voices and watching them flourish as they curiously explore the world around them is something that warms the hearts almost every early years teacher. However, it is equally demanding, challenging and exhausting and many practitioners are facing debilitating burnout.

A study undertaken last year by highlighted that 50% of early years workers felt mentally unwell as a result of work related stress. The sector has been under immense pressure in recent years, and with no sign of getting better, it is imperative that we being to take wellbeing more seriously in the workplace.

It’s no longer enough for token gestures, as well intentioned as they may be. The teacher is of upmost importance, It’s the practitioner who is the one in the thick of it.
They need to know they are cared for by proactive, considerate management teams and be shown how best to take care of themselves in the most stressful of times. Everything that you want to happen for your children is only as good as the person who delivers it. When practitioners know how to care for themselves, their practice alters and the care they give to their children, even the tricky ones, changes.

Early years professionals deserve the same recognition as the children in terms of care for their mental health, with fully supported opportunities to develop self-care skills, and I’m not talking about how to apply a face mask and enjoy a glass of the grown-up grape juice (although I am a fan of both).

‘Staff wellbeing’ are not trendy buzzwords, nor is it the latest fad, it should not be dismissed as insignificant or gaslit with claims of ‘everyone has these stresses’, ‘we all have it hard’ either. Failure to address the issues with compassion has serious far-reaching impact.

To empower a workforce, we must give them the skills that enable them to take care of themselves the right way. We want teams that have tools that support them under pressure, resources which help them find space within themselves when needed, and techniques the allow them to act with confidence.

The benefits for a workplace are immense; a team that knows it’s managers want this for them speaks volumes. It reduces sickness and work-related absences, staff respond favourably to their role as they know they are appreciated for it, work quality improves and the outcomes for your children increase.

Early Years workers who have their needs met thrive too.

Early years workers who’s needs are met are better placed to support the children who need them the most. That’s everyone’s ultimate goal.

That old adage ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ rings true. It’s time to start filling them up.

If you’re not sure how you can implement such changes in your place of work, my newly CPD Accredited course, The Conscious Practitioner, shows you how. Over 7 easy to follow modules, this course will change responses to situations and staff will discover how they can transition from stressed to calm. Email me to find out more teresa@nopencilrequired.com

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