KIDS COLLEGE WELLBEING PROGRAM FOR OUR STAFF TEAM OF EARLY CHILDHOOD PROFESSIONALS
Kids College has a commitment to improve quality outcomes for our children and families. Our staffing team is paramount to our success. We use professional standards to guide our practices and organize our educators across our service to support children’s learning and development. We have developed our own ways to ensure our staffing team of educators are motivated and committed to creating the best learning environment possible. This requires a strong sense of wellbeing for all of us in the Kids college family. At Kids College we have developed a Kids College Staffing team Wellbeing program, Kids College Kids College family wellbeing book, Connections and we are part of the Be You initiative.
“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine bright’. Kids College has a focus on strengthening social emotional learning and increasing emotional literacy. This can only take place in an environment that is inclusive on not just the children in our care but the adults in our environment too.
We have so many demands on us whilst working with children every day. It is easy for our sense of wellbeing to slide away in the noise of our every day lives and responsibilities. But how can we ensure children have a sense of wellbeing when we ourselves do not? As the common saying goes, ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’. First we need to foster our own wellbeing and then we can guide children, families and our fellow team members.
Importance of adults wellbeing
The importance of adults wellbeing resonates with the children’s sense of wellbeing. Socio cultural theories have moved our focus beyond individual children’s development to highlight the importance of social contexts to children’s learning and development. As children participate and learn in their communities, they in turn influence those communities. Thus as the children influence the adults the adults in turn will influence the children to increase everyone’s overall sense of wellbeing. Bronfenbrenner spoke of the importance of social cultural theories whereby each circle of interaction will influence the others. We are extending the wellbeing book idea to include families to strengthen our shared values.
Developing positive habits
To learn a new positive habit you need to remember to adopt this new activity on a regular basis. You need to think about a few triggers that will remind you to regularly practice a new approach! Examples of triggers: Noise from vehicles on a nearby road or hearing an aircraft could work for you. Having a special screensaver on your computer could be a trigger. A poem, a photograph on your desk, a treasured item that you frequently see or even the school bell, could be a trigger. It could be the smell from a fragrance from your tissues or a room air freshener. It could be another external noise such as the playing fields being mowed. It could be a ‘Remember to Remember’ poster on the wall in the staffroom. In essence, pick things that will constantly remind you to remember to adopt a new activity for your own wellbeing.
Kids College staffing team Wellbeing program
A while ago I read ‘The Good New Habits’ resource originally written by Ian G. Vickers, Assistant Principal, Sancta Maria College, Flat Bush, Auckland, New Zealand. This idea resonated with us and so we critically reflected on our own unique early childhood setting and created a Wellbeing book for Kids College. It can be used throughout the whole year to give our staff team of educators guidance on how to create a sense of wellbeing for themselves as a professional in early childhood education.
The art of looking after one’s self or caring about your own wellbeing is a jigsaw of learnt habits. Teaching and childcare is an extremely demanding profession and it is vital that we take some time for ‘you’ during each working day.
To help develop these new habits, the ‘Kids College Staffing team wellbeing program’ contains a weekly activity to support you. There is no particular order to the strategies and hints in this booklet but hopefully you may embrace a few on a permanent basis. They will become good new habits in keeping your senses of wellbeing.
An example of the book would include suggestions to drink water, take a long bath with candles, treat yourself to your favourite dinner and to practice a brief meditation as a start to your day. Particularly working in early childhood education the ability to remain calm and to be teaching from a ‘full cup’ would be very important to everyone.
Kids College Kids College family wellbeing book
A strong sense of wellbeing is fundamentally connected to children’s sense of belonging, being and becoming.
Responsive relationships, engaging experiences and a safe and healthy environment all play a role in supporting children’s healthy mental and physical wellbeing. As Educator’s we attend to children’s wellbeing by providing warm, trusting relationships, predictable and safe environments, affirmation and respect for all aspects of their physical, emotional, social, cognitive, linguistic, creative and spiritual being. But, the biggest resource of well being for your child is you. You need to take care of your own mental health and well being in order to keep taking care of others.
At around 6 months babies begin to imitate others around them in gesture, facial expression and emotion. Meaning they begin to mimic our actions and it’s important we are good role models for our children.
Kids College is involved in the Be You initiative
Be You is a national initiative for educators, aimed at promoting and protecting positive mental health in children and young people. They envision an education system in which every learning community is positive, inclusive and resilient, and where every child, young person, staff member, and family can achieve their best possible mental health.
Be You empowers educators by supporting them to develop their mental health skills and knowledge, while also providing guidance on how to implement a whole‐learning community approach. It offers a range of online, evidence‐based tools and resources aimed at improving the skills and knowledge of educators to foster and support mental health and wellbeing in children and young people.
Be You aims to transform Australia’s approach to supporting children’sand young people’s mental healthin early learning services and schools, from the early years to 18. Be You is a package of tools and information to help support children and young people from birth to 18 years of age towards better mental health and wellbeing. Be You enhances your skills and ability to help children and young people and to also look after your own mental healthand well-being. So, you can foster a culture of wellbeing at your school or early learning service.
Be You supports embedding good social and emotional learning practices with the aim of maximizing the resilience of children and young people, to reduce the risk of future mental health issues. It was also help you to work with your colleagues to support children and young people experiencing mental health issues and come together to respond to critical incidents.
The 13 modules in the Be You programare broken up into 5 domains:
- Mentally Healthy Communities
- Family Partnerships
- Learning Resilience
- Early Support
- Responding Together
We have used the ‘Connections” resources to guide and support children’s mental health and wellbeing. Positive mental health in early childhood is considered critical for children’s wellbeing and development in the present (being) and it has important implications for their future (becoming). The first few years are critical for attachment and responding to children’s needs in a consistent and timely manner lays the foundations for brain structures to develop. This highlights the need for adults to provide children with high quality education and care.
The benefits of positive mental health in the early years extend far beyond the present day and will impact on individuals and communities for many years. Providing a strong foundation in developing the skills, values and behaviours will results in those individuals attaining and retaining employment in the future; ability to gain higher level of education; gainfully employed long term; and the skills to build healthy relationships to participate in the community.
Kids College Staffing Charter
We have a Kids College staff Charter that assists our staffing team to be the best they can be. We are aware that our attitudes, values, and beliefs affect our work.
Kids College staff charter includes:-
We nurture and model respect-within three areas –self respect, respect of others and respect for the environment. Inspired by Vygotsky.
We accept responsibility for our own actions, model appropriate behaviours and threat others with kindness and respect. Inspired by Vygotsky
We demonstrate integrity through honest, awareness, respect and conscious thought. Inspired by Vygotsky
We encourage originality, enquiry, risk-taking, critical thinking and multiple means of expression. Inspired by Steiner.
We celebrate and embrace all differences within our community. Inspired by Bronfenbrenner.
We support our community as they strive for personal best in all academic, social and personal areas, and encourage them to do so with persistence, confidence and resilience. Inspired by Bowlby and Goleman.
Our staff charter was developed as part of the RULER approach program, teaching emotional intelligence.
KIDS COLLEGE FAMILY
At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Join our Kids College family community and share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on Jennifer@kidscollege.com.au
4.1.2 Everyeffort is made for children to experience continuity of educators at the service.
4.2.2. Professional standards guide practice, interactions and relationships.
Kids College Philosophy quote
‘We pride ourselves on our team of enthusiastic and dedicated early childhood educators who participate in a lively culture of professional inquiry and value being life long learners with ongoing professional development in order to build shared professional knowledge, understanding and skills. We have a positive workplace culture that values and supports our profession as early childhood educators’.