In early years settings we spend a lot of time making sure parents are happy, of course we do, we take great pride in showing children and families around our childcare and early year settings! We want them to choose our setting so dare I say it, we may even show off a little during an in depth tour of our facilities and the environments we take great pride in, we may go even go so far as to brag about our setting, the food we provide, our unique vision, ethos and approach to early childhood. 

Along with  the visits, show arounds and open days comes the paper work; the nursery brochure, the policy pack, the registration forms and parents questionnaires. If and when families choose your setting as the “I knew as soon as I walked through the door” this is the one for me! Then comes the settling in sessions, then the settling in questionnaires, paperwork – the unique process of establishing those positive relationships with families and developing bonds and attachments with the newly settling in babies and children. It doesn’t always happen over night, a lot of care, nurture, compassion, respect and trust is built throughout this time. We seek regular feedback and ensure parents and children are happy and do everything we can during this time to monitor to ensure the health and happiness of our new families and children.

Let me ask you to consider is the same effort taken during staff recruitment? Are prospective staff treated with the same respect, care and consideration that we offer to parents? 

When going for a job interview the mentality is we want to be picked for the job! Of course it is, why go through the process, but do you should stop and consider is this job right for me? When was the last time you advertised for staff or applied for a job role? Have you considered why prospective staff would choose to work here? Is this workplace a positive community to be part of and one that positively impacts on employee wellbeing? Ultimately the recruitment and job interview should be a reciprocal process to enable both the employer and the employee to consider if this is right for both of them. 

How happy, healthy and comfortable we are in our job roles has a huge part to play in our health and wellbeing. Choosing the right job role in the right setting, with the appropriate, support, training and professional development is key to our our performance, job satisfaction and overall happiness.

The draft consultation of the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework identifies staff Wellbeing for the first time, the grade descriptors for leadership and management indicate factors that can impact on staff Wellbeing. These include work related pressures, workload, how well they staff are supported and the effectiveness of performance management stating; “leaders ensure highly effective and meaningful engagement takes place with staff at all levels”.

What could be more meaningful than an open and honest culture of communication based on respect and dignity? A leadership team that designs its recruitment, interview and induction procedures based on respect and valuing highly skilled early years professionals when they join the team. 

An early years setting can be known within it’s local community for its reputation for providing high standards of quality care and education to babies, children’s and families. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all Early Years settings placed equal importance on the standards, quality of care, commitment and professional development to staff? Imagine gaining a reputation for how happy, healthy and fulfilled staff are within your setting? After all, the impact of this will not only be measured by staff health and wellbeing but crucially children’s lifelong health and wellbeing.

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