Hearing early childhood educators' voices about their well-being

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract

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    Abstract

    Background: Early childhood educators’ well-being is receiving increasing attention from researchers. Existing research frequently uses standardised tools for measuring aspects of psychological well-being, including: job satisfaction, burnout, perceived stress and self-esteem. Asking educators how they understand well-being in relation to their roles, reveals a wider range of information that can be used to better tailor efforts to improve educators’ well-being.

    Aim: To learn how educators understand well-being in relation to their roles.

    Method: A survey on educators’ well-being was completed by 73 educators working in long-day care services in QLD, NSW, ACT and WA. The survey sought educators’ measures of their work climate, psychological well-being and health, using validated self-report scales and sub-scales, and some researcher-created questions. The question “How do you understand early childhood educators’ well-being?” was included as part of survey. Thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data.

    Results: Participants understood that: well-being is multi-faceted; responsibility for well-being goes beyond themselves; job satisfaction is an important part of well-being to educators; educators’ well-being has impacts on their practice; and, work-related well-being has impacts on personal life.

    Conclusions: Participants had a reasonably holistic understanding of well-being, though still focused mostly on individual factors rather than connections to work or regulatory environment. Efforts to better support educators’ well-being need to include dialogue with educators on understanding well-being as having individual, organisational and social-political dimensions.

    Implications for children: Educators love working with you, and doing their very best so you have a great time at early education. They work very hard to make it great, so remember to tell them when you like what they are doing, and help out when you can.

    Implications for families: Educators enjoy their work, and are very committed to children having great experiences and outcomes. But, the work can be stressful, educators frequently work outside the hours they are paid for, and can tend to put themselves last. Remember to appreciate all they do, and the professionalism they show.

    Implications for practitioners: For children to have great experiences and outcomes from early childhood education, educators need to be well. This is a shared responsibility – it’s not all up to you as an individual!
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationECV2020
    Subtitle of host publicationEarly Childhood Voices 2020 Conference Proceedings
    EditorsSharynne McLeod, Tamara Cumming, Belinda Downey, Linda Mahony
    Place of PublicationBathurst, NSW
    PublisherCharles Sturt University
    Pages34
    Number of pages1
    ISBN (Electronic)9781864673814
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    EventEarly Childhood Voices Conference 2020 - Online
    Duration: 16 Nov 202020 Nov 2020

    Conference

    ConferenceEarly Childhood Voices Conference 2020
    Abbreviated titleECV2020
    CityOnline
    Period16/11/2020/11/20

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

    Keywords

    • professionals’ voices
    • workforce issues
    • well-being
    • qualitative methods

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