As we all know, working in early childhood education is rewarding, but it’s also complex and challenging. Too often being an early childhood educator is misunderstood. While craft and sandpits are part of most days, there’s more to it and nurturing children’s optimal development is a goal we work hard to achieve. Recent research shows that while educators are doing a great job focusing on children’s wellbeing, their own wellbeing is not being prioritised.
The Early Childhood Educator Wellbeing Project (ECEWP) data via Charles Sturt University shows that early childhood educators across Australia are facing emotional exhaustion and burnout as well as injury from the physical nature of the job including a lack of adequate ‘adult-sized’ furnishings.
This latest data reinforces the need for a focus on educators’ and their wellbeing in the workplace and beyond. The research also highlighted the commitment of educators, with over 97% reporting that they feel they make a positive difference in children’s lives’ and over 78% saying that they gain a ‘sense of accomplishment’ from their work.
With the demand for early childhood educators increasing – ACECQA believes almost 40,000 additional educators will be required by 2023 – it’s crucial that we get it right when it comes to taking care of our educators.
There is a lot we can do to support educator wellbeing in childcare services. Here are a few ideas:
Focus on strong relationships: Fostering strong, supportive relationships between educators and with management can help educators to feel cared for and respected. Take the time to check in with staff and one another. Maintain an open line of communication. Set aside days to bond, such as staff retreats where everyone can relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Talk about wellbeing: Create a working environment that prioritises wellbeing. Talk about how everyone is doing and take care to enhance wellbeing where you can. This might be through wellbeing practices within your service and encouraging things that enhance wellbeing outside of work too.
Offer opportunities to grow and feel valued: Time is precious and feeling like ours is valued is important. This can contribute greatly to wellbeing. Give your team opportunities such as professional and personal development to seek to grow.
The Bonkers Beat Wellness Summits are all about building the wellbeing, knowledge and skills of early childhood educators all over Australia. Educators who feel valued and have their wellbeing cared for are better equipped to deliver the best care and education to children. A focus on wellbeing can reduce staff turnover in centres and motivate educators so they feel engaged with the important work they do each day.
Our latest Wellness Summit is being hosted online and is coming up soon – these Wellness Summits truly get results for educators, management and for children and families. Learn more here: http://earlychildhoodeducationalprograms.com.au/
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