You are here

Voices from the field: Insights into the mental wellbeing of early childhood leaders

Sandy Radford

Early childhood teachers enact a relationship-based pedagogy in contexts requiring their consistent emotional labour, not just with children but also with their families. Leaders have additional responsibilities for the wellbeing of teaching teams, meeting the expectations of those in governance roles, and accountabilities to agencies such as the Ministry of Education, the Education Review Office (ERO), and the Teaching Council. Little has been reported about the impacts of this work for the wellbeing of leaders. This article gives voice to the lived experiences of a group of early childhood leaders, raising issues of workload, lack of resources and support, and stress. Comparisons are made with primary principals, noting similarities in experiences of workload and stress but differences in supports for principals that are not available to early childhood leaders. Although early childhood leaders are taking steps to protect their personal wellbeing, a systemic response is urgently needed.

Purchase the full text of this article