Working with children during their early years is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding careers. Parents are recognising the connection between a solid foundation and educational benefits for their children, making highly trained early years professionals highly sought after. But working with children all day can be tough, and only in an ideal world, staff would everyone turn up to work with not a care in the world, full of ideas, energy, tolerance, patience and happy thoughts to keep them going. This is real life and our staff, like individuals anywhere the world over, will allow what’s going on outside of work to filter through. The bad night’s sleep, relationship difficulties, debt, health worries, anxiety, fear – at KTB Kids we recognise that all these situations can have an impact on whether our staff hop, skip, and jump into work.
That’s why we use mindfulness to materially affect the culture and behaviours of our nursery. We strive for a positive culture of psychological safety, where our team are able to express a need, are not required to cope alone, and [within reason for a safety-critical environment] can make mistakes without expecting ridicule/draconian consequences. Our team know that they can safely share concerns, friction, pinch-points and worries – safe in the knowledge that they will be heard, judgement won’t be taken, backs won’t be put up, toes stepped on or an awkward day will follow.
At KTB Kids we have been working with Dr Nick Buckley since 2018. Nick has merged his commercial and academic interests by making mindfulness training effective and sustainable for the workplace. Nick supports our team each week to practice and apply mindfulness, ultimately to enhance the wellbeing and professional effectiveness of each individual member of the team.
We have produced a toolkit of resources that are geared towards supporting self-awareness, self-regulation and developing emotional intelligence. This in effect allows our team to be happier, more in control of their emotions and more able to enjoy the work that they do everyday to meet the needs of the children we care for. We prevent small ripples of unease leading to big, crashing, stressful waves. The result is a happy, united team committed to the children within the setting and to their role as early year’s educators.