It is worth noting that a strong foundation for educator wellness parallels that in which we strive to offer the children and families. This foundation includes appropriate sleep, nutrition and physical activity. As we work to create healthy spaces we have to enter our work days ready to handle big emotions and physically demanding work. This requires a level of understanding of our own emotional wellness and regulation. Taking care of the caregiver first allows us to be in a space where we can provide a healthy environment for children and families. This chapter will examine the many levels of wellness in the workplace, from digital wellness, wellness strategies, to our obligations under law and regulation.
Almost 50% of Early Childhood Educators leave the field within the first 5 years of working. According to participants in a report, The Burnout Crisis: A Call to Invest in ECE and Child and Youth Workers, (2022) While many want to come into the field, many factors including the COVID pandemic have added to this crisis. A strong focus on educator wellbeing and mental health has become a priority while advocates work to fix the structural challenges of low pay and lack pensions and benefits.
The following document was published prior to the Covid-19 pandemic but the research and reflective questions remain relevant to educators, currently working with children and families. Please read The Importance of Early Childhood Educator Mental Health & Well-Being: A guide to supporting educators and answer the reflective questions at the end. Journaling your responses will support your wellness as an early years practitioner (Ingriselli & Schempp, 2019).
Video: Understanding Children’s Emotions in Extraordinary Times + How that Makes You Essential by College of Early Childhood Educators [1:03:00]. Transcript available on YouTube.