Some may see Early Years Wellbeing Week flash up on their timeline and instantly feel sceptical about a one off week and think, what on earth is Early wellbeing week all about?
Perhaps we can all agree Wellbeing is very topical at the moment and one of the most talked about new additions to the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework, except for Cultural Capital of course, – but lets not go there!
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 careful not to plan ill-thought out activities that staff are forced or cajoled into taking part in.
What we do know for certain is that there is a lack of understanding around mental health and wellbeing in general and that lack of awareness means that the demands that come with working in Early Years can bring stress, exhaustion and burnout.
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 they are themselves!
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.
Early Years Wellbeing Week started in 2018 to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and wellbeing for staff, children and parents.
“Just to say THANK YOU! Thank you for acknowledging the struggles all teachers go through and the affect 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.”
Going to work should have a positive impact on our health but quite often we can feel unsatisfied, underappreciated and stressed out! When we talk about Wellbeing at work – we are talking about how happy, healthy and comfortable we are in our job roles.
From September 1st 2019, we had a new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework, and under Leadership & Management staff wellbeing has been included for the first time. It spells out in black and white the responsibility line managers have in addressing factors in the workplace that impact on our overall health and happiness which may stop us from fulfilling our job roles and responsibilities.
All this means, plainly and simply is; what we do every day at work matters and contributes to how happy and health we feel ! There are small gestures we can do to show that we care, value our team mates and show our appreciation:
– Wellbeing Wednesday: lunch or breakfast provided, team exercise /walks,
-staff baskets with personal items for self-care, health & hygiene
-wellbeing displays that promote physical &mental health
-Staff shout out boards
-Thank you notes, letters, flowers & gift vouchers
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? As ultimately it is consistent ongoing 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, training and support 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 work place that promotes trust, respect and dignity.
To join in with the week simply search for the hashtag #EYWellbeingWeek comment, like and share you own photos, plans and activities throughout the week.
Each day there will be new blogs, videos, activities, articles, resources and information shared across social media from the Early Years Wellbeing Week section of the website.