There has never been a better time to focus on mental health and wellbeing in early years. The EYFS 2021 states:
‘Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. Children should be supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities’.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on everyone, adults and children alike. This has impacted on children’s development and the ability for adults to cope with day-to-day life.
In early years settings, this has added to the issue of retention and recruitment which was already a challenge. The current financial climate in the country has further increased pressures and the ability to cope.
This award will help settings to place a focus on the wellbeing of all by considering 5 areas to reflect on and develop practice:
- Partnership working
- Promoting wellbeing
- Supporting staff
- Understanding needs
Mental health award
The Healthy Early Years Award in Mental Health and Wellbeing is a standalone award.
This award links closely to other aspects of HEYA. and ideally would be part of the holistic approach to all round wellbeing. However, it's not required to progress to silver or gold levels.
The award is designed to support your setting to focus on the mental health and wellbeing needs of children, staff and families and to support reflective practice. You will need to gather information and views of parents and staff, assessing your current provision and ensuring your policy meets the criteria outlined in the self-assessment form.
You will be assessing and monitoring the wellbeing environment and opportunities in the setting to support good mental health and wellbeing for all. Communication to parents and carers to support mental health and wellbeing in the setting and at home will be an important part of this award.
By the end you will be able to complete an action plan to outline where you could further improve and develop your mental health and wellbeing provision.