Emotional wellbeing in early years: how a new qualification is making a difference to children’s lives
Centre 56 is a charity in North Liverpool that supports families who have experienced domestic abuse and crisis situations.
Set up in 1973 as the first refuge outside of London, over the years they’ve seen first-hand how children are impacted because of their parents' inability to care for them – damaged self-esteem, confidence, and emotional wellbeing.
Supporting vulnerable children and adults takes its toll. The team at Centre 56 deals with emotionally draining and difficult situations every day and needs a support structure of their own – this is where NCFE’s Level 4 qualification in emotional wellbeing is having an impact.
Paula Graves, Children’s Support Manager at Centre 56, explains how it has already made a difference: “I was able to improve staff wellbeing by making their wellbeing a priority. I implemented strategies and support for the team to access.
“Staff have reported that this has raised their ability to cope with the emotional stresses they face within their roles when supporting children and families. I’m able to recognise the signs and symptoms that a person’s emotional wellbeing is low, provide strategies and support and signpost to other agencies for specific help as a result.”
Emotional wellbeing in early years
Our physical and mental health go hand in hand to fulfil our basic, lifelong needs – after all, our emotional wellbeing helps us with our everyday resilience in responding to life’s stresses and strains. In the UK, we also recognise that emotional wellbeing, alongside cognitive and behavioural wellbeing, work together to form our mental health.
Some children are at higher risk of experiencing poor emotional wellbeing. According to the NSPCC, this includes care leavers and those who have been through adverse childhood experiences or additional stressors in early life.
These children, like all young people, are deserving of additional support to ensure they’re equipped with the tools they need to progress and succeed in life. Through working in partnership, we’ve been able to utilise the power of education to begin to address this need.
Looking to solve a societal need
School Improvement Liverpool are experts in education and one of the leading service providers in the North West. We were pleased, thanks to our strong reputation in the sector through NCFE CACHE, to be approached by them to discuss the development of a new sector-driven qualification to meet this need in our society.
After first collaborating with our subject experts, work began to create and develop the specialist qualification content required to equip educators with the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to deliver strong emotional wellbeing in the early years setting.
A year on, we’re proud to announce that the NCFE CACHE Level 4 Award in Early Years Emotional Wellbeing has now been launched more widely.
Designed for people aged 18 and over, it will support those already working within the early years setting to increase their knowledge and understanding to promote emotional wellbeing - becoming beacons of support for children and their families.
Sally Baumber, Quality Improvement Officer at School Improvement Liverpool, said: “This qualification is so valuable, as it raises the confidence of early years practitioners to prioritise emotional wellbeing to influence a child’s life outcomes positively.
“A practitioner with this qualification will have the holistic knowledge to support the emotional wellbeing of not only the children who attend the setting, but their families and the staff who work there.”
Mossley Hill Childcare caters for children aged from six months up to four years. Manager and Director Christine Barnes says that the qualification has helped her with finding better solutions for the families they work with – quickly, effectively and with empathy.
She reflects: “As an early years manager, this knowledge is a valuable support tool for me. This qualification has strengthened my awareness of wellbeing amongst staff, parents and carers, and how important it is to manage successfully.
“Staff feel valued and happy, so enjoy their job more, improving retention rates. It is good for morale and parents and carers respect the fact that the team are completing this qualification.”
Janet King, Sector Manager for Education and Childcare at NCFE, adds: “This qualification is much welcomed by the sector and its timing could not have been better. The wellbeing of babies, children, families and staff must be prioritised to ensure high quality practice is maintained through naturally nurturing environments.”
Opportunities to develop
As well as equipping learners with the knowledge and tools to be able to create and implement action plans to improve practice in their own early years settings, this award also provides continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities, as well as preparing learners to progress into higher level qualifications in the sector.
Progression routes that individuals maybe wish to continue into include SENCO or PANCo roles, as well as pastoral roles such as Emotional Health and Wellbeing Lead.
Learn more about our NCFE CACHE Level 4 Award in Early Years Emotional Wellbeing qualification on QualHub, or get in touch with our team if you’d like to ask any further questions.