We know that the Early Childhood Education sector is experiencing a climate of fatigue, and now more than ever we need to be resilient and challenge this discourse by working to understand and prioritize wellness and wellbeing.
In a recent Educa webinar, Early Years Consultant Nicole Talarico offers solutions to ‘Reviving the Educator’, you can watch the replay here.
Relive as the educator that you envisioned yourself being when you chose this career path and explore what your role as a teacher and a learner can look like in a contemporary curriculum. To do that, we must embrace a slower but surer pedagogy that fosters the love of being in environments with children.
Revive to Survive
The pandemic has had an effect on all of us as individuals, and the reality is we’ve been through a very traumatic experience. For some people, this has been the most traumatic experience of their lives. This is why we need to utilize trauma-informed practice to change the trajectory and calm our ‘survival brain’, the hyper-vigilant state where our brains are constantly on high alert. As we enter into the third year of the pandemic, we need to address the impact of high stress over long periods of time, and get back to a much more regulated status.
Change the Trajectory
2022 has to be the year of discipline. It’s important to not only make a plan but also work on it every single day. Decide what you want and write it down. Most of us are familiar with the science that proves writing things down makes them real and sends a signal to your brain that you’re serious about making them happen.
Understand that your competition is not other people, but rather your procrastination, and you’ve got to conquer yourself in order to compete against it. Remember, your lowest moments can turn out to become your most powerful depending on how you bounce back.
Prioritize Self Care
Are you giving yourself an opportunity to release happy hormones? Take the time to stop for a DOSE (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins), especially when working on tasks. Adding positive primers to your everyday is bigger than a to-do list, it can boost your power and motivate you to take action.
You are worth the quiet moment. You are worth the deeper breath. You are worth the time is takes to slow down, be still and rest.
Maintain a Connection with Self and Others
If there’s one thing the pandemic gifted us, it’s more tools and resources for wellbeing and self-care. We know what they are, but are we committed to them? Now is the time to be diligent about accessing and utilizing those resources to create self help strategies and reclaim strength.
Post-humanist thinking sees the human as entangled with its environment. What is your relationship with your workspace? Have you left that space as very temporary and uninviting, or are you actually injecting some some joy into it, some reminders about how important self-care is and ways to boost your power? We’ve got to slow down our busyness, open our eyes and be present and connect. This is how we can promote wellness, wellbeing and a greater understanding of ourselves within our space.
Apply Wellness, Wellbeing & Greater Understanding
What does wellness look like to you? Think about what makes you happy and inject that into your every day, even if you are working with children. Why? Because we have to collaboratively adopt a sociocultural approach to wellness. For some people, that could be lighting a candle as soon as entering your home.
Prioritize Mental Health
Wellbeing should be part of every team meeting agenda, and part of the quality improvement plan. By embedding wellness and wellbeing into your organizational culture, you can see patterns of wellness growth within your team. Having an idea of what wellness looks like can proactively help us notice the warning signs and triggers within teams and reduces the likelihood of harm.
Listen to your staff. Are your educators actively involved with decision making at your center? Develop a Staff Wellbeing Plan and build a culture of help-seeking that includes all staff. Implementing wellness strategies, structures, and processes will minimize work-related stressors. Listen with an open mind, encourage action, and check in. Talking is powerful but we need to ensure ongoing connection is maintained. Become familiar with emotional intelligence and be respectful in the way you communicate with others. Critical reflection is not personal, be strong on content but soft on people.
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that in the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger- something better, pushing right back.