ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone encourages you to consider your own wellbeing during this challenging time, and the role it plays in your work with children, families and colleagues.
Wellbeing incorporates both physical and psychological aspects and is central to belonging, being and becoming. Without a strong sense of wellbeing, it is difficult to have a sense of belonging, to trust others and feel confident in being, and to optimistically engage in experiences that contribute to becoming (Early Years Learning Framework, p. 33; Framework for School Age Care, p. 30).
The work and commitment of educators, teachers, staff, service leaders and approved providers is widely acknowledged and valued, as you collaboratively continue the important work of providing Australian children and families with quality early learning and school age care services. During these challenging times, a safe, predictable place for children and families is valued more than ever. In this blog, I’d like to invite you to consider your own wellbeing, and that of others within your service and community during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Australian studies have identified that educators’ wellbeing can be adversely impacted when effective, ongoing supports are not in place. Along with high rates of stress, this contributes to emotional exhaustion and educators leaving the profession (Jones, Hadley & Johnstone, 2017). We also know anecdotally that educators, service leaders, children and families are experiencing a higher level of stress from a variety of sources since the outbreak of COVID-19.
We all have a role to play in observing and monitoring the wellbeing of the people we work with. This attentiveness and responsiveness allows us all to better understand each other and build a well and effective team. Educators with a strong sense of wellbeing will be better positioned to meet the emotional needs of children returning to services, while supporting them in self-regulation and developing resilience. These capacities are essential for building secure relationships with children (Quality Area 5).
ACECQA has developed the Supporting educators during these challenging times information sheet to help service leaders reflect on and review their current practices and strategies to support the wellbeing of their staff. The information and resources can help build and support your own resilience and the wellbeing of others. The information sheet also features government and sector initiatives to support service leaders in their important role, as well as information for their teams.
ACECQA’s family focused brand StartingBlocks.gov.au has also developed some COVID-19 resources to share with families to support their changing circumstances and health and wellbeing at this time.
As a result of the complex nature of educator wellbeing, comprehensively and proactively addressing issues requires a shared approach to taking responsibility, including educators, educational leaders, nominated supervisors, service leaders and approved providers.
It is this collaborative and positive approach that will enable us to support each other and our individual and collective wellbeing, which is even more important in these challenging times.
Related resources to build understanding of educator wellbeing during COVID-19
- ACECQA – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
- ACECQA – Guide to the National Quality Framework
- ACECQA – National Education Leader on We Hear You
- ACECQA – Educator wellbeing posters
- Be You – Resources to help educators respond to the mental health impact of COVID-19 on children and families and their school communities
- Early Childhood Educators’ Wellbeing Project – An Australian research project into educator wellbeing.
- Smiling mind – the free Thrive Inside app includes tools to support those at home and returning to work.
Jones, C., Hadley, F. & Johnstone, M. (2017). ‘Retaining early childhood teachers: What factors contribute to high job satisfaction in early childhood settings in Australia’. New Zealand International Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 20(2), 1-18. Retrieved from: https://researchers.mq.edu.au/en/publications/retaining-early-childhood-teachers-what-factors-contribute-to-hig