Staff wellbeing space supports positive relationships and wellbeing at Guardian Taringa
As part of efforts to support children, families and the educator team with their feeling of belonging, connection and wellbeing at Guardian Childcare & Education Taringa, Centre Manager Monique Dowd and the educators have created several parent spaces and a staff wellbeing space.
The creation of the spaces, Ms Dowd said, was driven in the first instance by the strong focus on attachment theory and ensuring that the children have that sense of belonging at the service.
After reflecting on this practice, the team realised that as well as focusing on attachment and belonging with the children, families and staff needed to be considered also. This, in turn, led to an exploration of how families engaged with the service environment on a daily basis, and the creation of three spaces designed to support families – a family feedback space, a food stop-off point and a parents room.
“Before designing and setting up the spaces, we spent a lot of time reflecting on what we actually wanted to achieve with them,” Ms Dowd shared. A number of solutions were trialled until the team were happy with the results.
“The notices in the room have allowed for stronger communication with the families and a better support system, and the acknowledgement of their feedback has boosted and encouraged families to provide their feedback and ideas.”
The parents room in particular, she said, offers the children the opportunity to enjoy a quiet, intimate moment with their family members throughout the day.
“Walking past, you will often find a child lying on the floor reading a story with a parent, playing quietly, or taking the time to apply sunscreen and reminding their family to put some on as well,” she added.
Following the success of the improved family spaces, the team set about creating a staff wellbeing space, which took inspiration from the parents spaces and the sense of belonging they promoted.
“Having a space where the team can sign in mentally for the day allows us in leadership to understand and know how our team is individually travelling,” Ms Dowd said.
“It also gives any educators who may be having a difficult time the opportunity to ask for help in a safe, supportive setting, which takes the pressure off.”
“We also use the space as a metaphor for leaving work or home issues at the door, as the team mentally takes that moment to sign in and to recognise how they are feeling.”
The staff wellbeing space offers a relaxing environment for the team to retreat to, stocked with sweets, self-care tips and resources to further support them.
“We discuss as a team quite often that they don’t need to be at 150 per cent every day, or even 100 per cent. Working at 70-80 per cent is more than enough, and a much sustainable option long term, as we try to avoid staff burnout as much as possible.”
“The way we look at it, if everyone worked at that level, we would ultimately have a higher percentage of productivity and happiness at the Centre, rather than a mixture of some Educators at 100 per cent and others struggling at 30 per cent,” she added.
Since implementing the spaces, Ms Dowd has noticed “a really positive” atmosphere in the centre. The spaces, she said, have strengthened relationships with families and team morale, allowing the team to thrive in a collaborative environment.
More information about Guardian Childcare & Education Taringa is available via their website, here.