A Guide to Mental Health for Early Years Educators
Putting Wellbeing at the Heart of Your Philosophy and Practice
This practical and accessible guide tackles the challenges that busy childcare educators face with their mental health in what is a wonderful, rewarding, but often exhausting role.
Drawing from "day-in-the-life" experiences and case studies, this book sets out high-quality staff wellbeing practices that can revolutionise the way childcare practitioners approach their job and their own health. Chapters guide the reader through a process of reflection and development, encouraging and empowering them to create a workplace culture that positively contributes to their personal wellbeing.
• Focuses on the realities of Early Years education, combining the author's lived experience with examples of real-life practice.
• Encourages educators to think and feel positively about themselves; to identify the individual skills, strengths and talents they bring to their work.
• Can be used individually or collaboratively by team members, with guidance on creating a positive workplace culture with a shared vision, core values and beliefs.
Essential reading for anybody who finds that the job they love can sometimes leave them feeling worn out, stressed and depleted, this book has been written to enrich the lives of all training and practising Early Years Educators.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Laying the foundations of our philosophy
1 Wellbeing at the heart
2 Mental health
3 The early years educator I am today
Part 2 A philosophy for wellbeing
4 A vision of team togetherness
5 Connection and belonging
6 Health and harmony
7 A culture of kindness and accountability
8 A vision for the future: a mentally healthy early years workforce
Kate Moxley is a proud and passionate Early Years (EY) Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker specialising in wellbeing and mental health. Founder of the Wellness for All training company and a Mental Health First Aid England Instructor Member, she travels across the UK nurturing teams to develop mentally healthy working environments that improve outcomes for children. Kate combines her experience and love of the EY sector with a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies, along with real-life, hands-on experience of working with children and families in educational and PVI settings, leading, managing, and inspiring large staff teams. Kate is the founder and organiser of Early Years Wellbeing Week #EYWellbeingWeek that runs every year in line with world mental health day on 10 October.
As caring professionals, we strive to make children feel confident and good about themselves, we care for them and ensure their well-being is thought about and nurtured. Why is it then that many people working with young children do not afford themselves the same consideration and care, or indeed have even thought about doing this?
This much needed book not only informs the reader about mental health and well-being in an easily understandable and accessible way, but also offers the opportunity to reflect on these issues and re-think your own personal perspectives and understanding in order to nurture and protect your own mental health, which is a vital component of effective practice with young children. The book is underpinned by an ethos of inclusion and anti-discriminatory practice which, together with case studies of lived experiences, gives further opportunities for reflection and reframing thinking and practice in order to embed wellbeing into the heart of your Early Years practice and your life in general.
Anne Gladstone, Author
Working with young children is an incredible experience, a true privilege to spend time in their company, showing them their potential and the joy in the world around them. All too often however, looking after the richness of childhood can come at the price of looking after ourselves. Kate's brilliant book is the perfect guide to do just that - personal, informative and well-researched, each page is a reminder that for us to be at our best with children, we need to nurture the one treasure that children look to us to find: our own "play-full" selves. If you've been looking for the map to put well-being at the heart of your pedagogy and practice then look no further, you hold it in your hands...
Greg Bottrill, Educational Thinker and Author
I feel honoured that I have been asked to review Kate Moxley’s new book A Guide to Mental Health for Early Years Educators. For far too long we have seen mental health as a taboo subject and those who suffer with their mental health have felt embarrassed and shamed when discussing and sharing their feelings and experiences. Kate sensitively and intellectually navigates mental health and wellbeing and outlines what we can all do both personally and professionally, and how we can support our colleagues. This book is very timely and a must for every educator/teacher to read, reflect and put into practice.
Laura Henry-Allain MBE, International award-winning writer, speaker and consultant
Thank you, Kate, for shedding light on such a complex struggle that many EY educators (often times silently) face, in such a genuine, honest and compassionate manner. To say I feel seen and heard is an understatement. And I am confident this sentiment will resonate with others too, who hold Early Years in their hearts also.
Tanzimah Chowdry, Early Years Educator
Kate's passion, enthusiasm, insight, openness, honesty and knowledge shines through on every page. I wish I had read this book earlier in my career. It has got me through a tricky transition into middle leadership during the pandemic and a difficult time in my own personal life. Making me not only a better practitioner but also a more compassionate leader who has remembered how to love my job.
Helen Harris, Early Years Educator
As someone who has struggled with their mental health over a number of years, I can only wish I had access to a resource like this at the beginning of my journey. An insightful book with real stories from real people, proof that no one is alone in their struggles. Everyone in the early years sector could benefit from reading this book!
Samantha Gardner, Early Years Educator