Key points from the survey are:
- Nursery staff love their work, and many feel their settings are actively engaging with staff mental health and achieving positive results
- However, less than half (47%) were aware of whether their nursery had a mental health and well-being policy in place, and where no known policy was reported, staff stress levels were also found to be highest
- Nursery staff also said that the pandemic had taken its toll on their mental health, with 50% reporting that they felt unwell as a result of work-related stress during the past year and 66% reporting that the pandemic had impacted their well-being and mental health.
Stella Ziolkowski, NDNA’s Director of Quality and Training, said: “We welcome this report because nursery practitioners are the lifeblood of the setting and make all the difference to the quality of a child’s early learning experiences. The relationships between a child, their key person and parents are absolutely crucial and based on trust and affection.
“It’s heartening to read that the majority of nursery practitioners love what they do. This commitment and passion needs to be properly recognised by the Government as looking after very young children can be stressful and challenging although it’s clear that this is also a hugely rewarding career.
“Having faced such a tough time over the past 18 months, any additional support for staff and settings is really welcome. We have heard time and again how fears around Covid and the pressures of having rooms and whole nurseries closing and reopening have taken its toll. That’s why we were delighted to work with Anna Freud Centre on this project and a much needed resource for the sector.
Dr Camilla Rosan, Head of Early Years & Prevention at the Anna Freud Centre, said: “It’s clear from this new research how much early years staff love their work, but it’s also clear that it can at times be emotionally demanding and stressful. Staff well-being needs to lie at the heart of nursery settings, so we can best support those who look after young children in the first years of their lives. Those early years are so critical to a child’s longer term development and happiness. That’s why we are delighted today to offer this free, practical resource to all nurseries.”