Mindfulness Training to Enhance Well‐being Among Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Professionals

Ref: 02-2014/5-north
Name: C. O’Toole
Email Address: Catriona.a.otoole@nuim.ie
Phone Number: 01-708 3445
Institution Address: NUI, Maynooth
Seeking a partner/s in: Northern Ireland

There is increasing recognition that ECCE practitioners and managers are experiencing considerable emotional and financial stress as they strive to maintain quality services within a climate of diminishing resources (ECI, 2014, Matson, 2014). As we advocate for increased investment and improved working conditions for the ECCE sector, it is also important to target and promote practitioner wellbeing as a key priority.

Mindfulness, which is characterised by awareness and non‐judgemental acceptance of one’s moment‐to‐moment experiences, is widely regarded as an effective antidote against stress and other forms of psychological distress (Kabat‐Zinn, 1990; Keng, et al., 2011). Recently studies have shown that mindfulness buffers against stress and burn‐out in educators and can contribute toward positive classroom environments and resilience in children (Abenavoli et al. 2013; McElroy & O’Toole, 2014).

The current project aims to assess levels of psychological well‐being among ECCE professionals in the North and South. Subsequently a standardised mindfulness‐based programme (e.g., mindfulness based cognitive therapy, MCBT) will be delivered to a sample of early years practitioners/managers. Using qualitative and quantitative measures the research programme aims to assess the impact of the programme on practitioner well‐being and also to investigate whether the programme has any impact on the nature of interactions/relationships within the early years’ setting.