Be You: Supporting early learning educators throughout COVID-19
Be You is a national mental health initiative established in 2018. Its focus is to provide ongoing support for educators in early learning services and schools as they respond to the needs of children, young people, and families within their learning communities.
Support for early learning educators has never been so crucial. Educators continue to navigate constant and rapid change professionally and personally. Promoting and prioritising the mental health of the whole learning community, including educators, is at the core of the Be You initiative. The ways we can support mental health creates protective factors that underpin a learning community’s ability to be resilient and continue to learn during change.
Being an online initiative Be You has been accessible to educators, early learning services and schools throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In response to COVID-19, Be You has also developed a specific resource for early learning communities. This resource recognises the important part educators play in supporting children and families’ mental health, as well as offering guidance and information to support educator mental health during these uncertain times.
This two-page resource was developed in collaboration with Early Childhood Australia and covers:
- Educator self-care
- Working with families
- How to help children feel safe during times of change
- Helping children explore their emotions
- What to do when children need extra support
In addition to this COVID-19 resource, Be You Fact Sheets and Tools support growing mental health awareness and provide information about taking care of the mental health of our colleagues, and ourselves.
- Wellbeing Tools for You
- Staff Wellbeing
- Educator wellbeing after a natural disaster
- Critically reflective practice supports staff wellbeing
- Educator Wellbeing within your learning community
All early learning services and schools registered to participate with Be You also have access to a team of Consultants. Be You Consultants are continuing to provide support and connection for educators at this time, over telephone, email and other online conversations and events.
More specific wellbeing support for educators is also available at Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service that provides free information, counselling and referrals online and by phone.
Finding a new space for connection
The onset of COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives, including the way educators meet and network with each other. The numbers of educators connecting, engaging, and supporting one another, by using Be You online professional learning activities continues to increase. Educators also continue to share stories about their growing familiarity and confidence in using online meeting platforms too.
Be You online spaces where educators can learn and connect together include:
Showcases key information for early learning services implementing Be You, including how to begin their Be You journey
Provides an opportunity for educators to chat with a Be You Consultant and other educators across Australia about progressing with Be You
Ongoing opportunities for educators to come together, share knowledge and lead learning around different topics, and take action towards growing a mentally healthy learning community.
Looking beyond COVID-19
Everyone looks forward to a time when more opportunities for coming together in the same physical space are possible. However, we continue to discover the benefits of connecting online and grow confidence in what we can achieve when we connect this way; physical distance is no longer a barrier.
Currently over 3500 early learning services across Australia participate in Be You and have direct access and support from Early Childhood Australia’s Be You Consultants through online events and activities.
The online spaces and connection with Be You Consultants are beneficial for continuing professional learning and reflection, maintaining social connections, accessing mental health support during uncertain times and navigating the path into a new normal beyond COVID-19.
If you would like to register your early learning service, school age care service or school with Be You, please visit the Be You website.