Human connection is essential to wellbeing.
Focusing on responsive relationships that strengthen connection contributes to the building of ongoing, trusting and secure relationships.
For families experiencing challenging circumstances, strengthening connection through respectful, responsive and inclusive interactions will promote wellbeing.
Supporting children's wellbeing
Children learn best in welcoming environments that support their growth as active participants in their learning.
Viewing children as capable, and using inclusive and strength-based learning will support children to improve their resilience and wellbeing.
Growth fostering environments in which children have good modelling, positive interactions with others and learn from everyday experiences contribute to resilience and wellbeing.
Observing children will help teachers to plan targeted learning experiences that further support children recognising, understanding and expressing emotions, and self regulating.
Allowing children time and places to relax throughout the day helps them to process emotions and increase their feelings of wellbeing.
- Can you find time in the day to practise mindfulness or breathing techniques, or read a story that connects children to learning about emotions?
Conversations with children
It is possible children will want to ask or talk about recent events and the disruption they have caused during the day.
Listening carefully to children and responding with reassurance will build their sense of security.
Using action-orientated language about things children can control is important to building feelings of reassurance and promoting resilience.
Speaking truthfull and not minimising the situation while suggesting ways to cope will allow children to practise their resilience.
Limiting these conversations and providing fact-based and action-orientated responses will empower children, rather than overwhelm.
Children benefit when their identity and value as contributors in the early learning community is acknowledged.
It is important to children that the adults in their life respect the things that matter most to them.
Talking about shared experiences and exciting learning opportunities to come shifts the focus from what children have missed out on to what they have done and can look forward to.
Sharing experiences with children,good and bad, and encouraging questions and contributions of new world views promotes dialogue, connection and learning.
- How are you, as a staff team, talking about responses to ensure a united approach?
- What key messages might you use in response to children's questions?
Arrival and departure times
Arrival and departure are important times to reconnect with children and families and to share experiences.
Planning for responsive, positive and respectful interactions will support smoother transitions, particularly for those children who are apprehensive about returning.
Children who had difficulty settling in at the beginning of the year may need extra support to re-settle after a disrupted period.
Strategies that are consistent and predictable work best in supporting children to transition back to regular program delivery.
- How do you make sure you give families extra time to share concerns or ideas if needed?
- How can you continue to share information with families to tap into children's experiences and interests?
Know when to engage support
Your role as an educator is valuable in identifying families and children who may need extra support in this time of disruption.
Educators should discuss ongoing concerns about children's wellbeing with the family and, where appropriate, referral to relevant health professionals.
Think about your network and who you can call on to support children and families who may need professional help.
- Have you got a community register you can refer families to if they need more support?
- As a staff team are you aware of or have discussed common signs of anxiety in young children?
- Are there strategies you can use to support anxiety in young children?