Early childhood educators have an important role to play in the development of young children's mental health yet rarely has their understanding of mental health and mental health promotion been researched. This study aims to explore childcare educators' and managers' understanding of child and parental mental health and the early signs of mental health problems. Participants (N = 19) were sampled from low socioeconomic status areas. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore their perceptions and experiences of child and parental social and emotional wellbeing. Results suggested that childcare staff were able to explain child wellbeing but were somewhat limited in their knowledge of risk and protective factors for child and parental mental health. They identified a need for additional training. There is a need to match understandings and practice in mental health promotion to existing early childhood frameworks which inform the work of early childhood educators.
- mental health
- childcare educators
- social and emotional wellbeing
- health promotion