Part of the role of an RECE is to nurture the development of children in your care, as well as the families that surround them, and to put the needs of others at the forefront. It’s important, challenging work, and it requires strength and resilience. We know that self-care is a critical part of fostering that strength and resilience. In today’s world, there’s so much material promoting self-care and mental well-being. And in all honesty, it can be difficult to sort through all the information and determine how best to practice self-care on a day-to-day basis, both in our work and in our lives outside of work. This profession attracts incredible people who often focus on the needs of others before themselves, which can result in fatigue, and in many cases, burnout. So, what does self-care and mental well-being look like for RECEs, and how can we work to prioritize them?
The College has created an insightful two-part video series on self-care and mental well-being for Early Childhood Educators (ECE) featuring Dr. Jean Clinton (Dr. Jean) – a child psychiatrist, author and ECE supporter and hosted by College Council member, Julie Cyr, RECE.
“In these times, it really is a professional responsibility to look after yourselves so you can be there for yourself, for your colleagues, for the kids and for the families,” says Dr. Jean.
In the first video, Self-care at Work, Dr. Jean provides advice, tips and tools on self-care, that can be integrated into your practice.
In the second video, Your Brain at Work, Dr. Jean takes you to a deeper place to help you understand how your brain operates in a situation and under stress. She reminds ECEs that just like with children, trauma can take many forms in all of us and our responses to situations are influenced by past experiences.
“Our brains are an expression of our experiences,” says Dr. Jean. “Your work is changing your brain. The joy of being with the children and the play is changing your brain. There are things you can absolutely do to lead to a healthy brain.”
As we continue to work through the impact of the past few challenging years, it’s important now more than ever to take the time and effort to care for yourselves – for your own benefit and for those around you.
We encourage you to watch the videos below and apply some of the techniques that resonate with you.
Self-care at Work
Your Brain at Work
About Dr. Jean M Clinton BMus MD FRCP(C)
Jean M Clinton BMus MD FRCP(C) Clinical Professor McMaster University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences Dr. Jean Clinton is a Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster, division of Child Psychiatry. She is on staff at McMaster Children’s Hospital with cross appointments in Pediatrics and Family Medicine, and an Associate in the Department of Child Psychiatry at Sick Children’s Hospital. She is a member on the MindUP Scientific Advisory Board as well as a MindUP for Families Advisor. She was a Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy, and is a Zero to Three Academy Fellow since 2013. She has been a consultant to children and youth mental health programs, child welfare, and primary care for over 30 years. Dr. Clinton was appointed as an education advisor to the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education 2014 – 2018.
Dr. Clinton is renowned nationally and internationally as an advocate for children’s issues. Her special interest lies in brain development, and the crucial role relationships and connectedness play. Jean champions the development of a national, comprehensive child well-being strategy including a system of early learning and care for all young children and their families. She is equally committed to ensuring that children’s and youths’ needs and voices are heard and respected.
Dr. Clinton has also authored her first book, Love Builds Brains which can be ordered online through Tall Pines Press, on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere.