It has been a tough 12 months for many educators around the world. During COVID we have been required to work on, to put ourselves at risk everyday. To soldier through with very little acknowledgement for the amazing and essential work that we do. Here, in Australia we have been reasonably lucky, but in other parts of the world I have watched educators battling through lockdowns, high levels of risk, and governments that simply do not recognise the sacrifices that are being made.
Successful outcomes for young children begin with caring deeply about teachers, prioritising their mental and physical health and boosting their confidence as professionals.
So, how do carers care for themselves in these situations? How do we make sure that we are receiving the love we need to get through? Educators, carers and teachers need to be well-supported, properly compensated and given the respect and value that they deserve. If you are a coordinator, director or educational leader how are you ensuring that your staff are safe, well and happy?
Firstly, use your voice. The only way change can effectively occur is if enough people make enough noise. Educate staff, educate parents and families, get loud on political pages and make your contributions heard. Use social media as a mouthpiece and show off the brilliant work you do.
Leaders, are you listening to your staff? Have you asked them their concerns, worries and queries? Do they have the ability to contribute ideas and suggestions to the running of your scheme/centre/business?
Do special things to celebrate your staff, co-workers and colleagues. Are there ways that you can show your love and appreciation? Even a kind word can completely change someone’s day.
Keep your professional development up. This motivates and inspires and gives you the push to keep going. Watch and listen to inspirational educators and experts in the Early Childhood profession. I always feel AMAZING after listening to my favourite educators.
Simplify everything. Create a warm and peaceful environment that not only provides love to the children, but for you too. Our books on Engaging Environments and Places to Play can help you to do that. They’re available here.
Care for the children before worrying about achieving set educational outcomes. Connection, care and play first. The rest will follow.
Get creative and joyful. Now is the time to put your innovative hat on and really think about how you can make changes to your practices that inspire you! Dance in the rain, get messy and mucky with the children, sing your way through the day. Embody the joy that is working with children.
Take care of yourself. Rest, drink lots of water, move your body in joyful ways, eat delicious and healthy things, add music to your day and embrace this fun, but difficult profession that we all love.