“We signpost staff to relevant services if required and highlight specific information and campaigns during meetings. This provides good conversation starters about different views and ideas on mental health issues.”
Abacus day nursery is situated in the Uplands area of Swansea, operating in a homely environment from a modified house and offering bilingual provision in Welsh and English. We can take up to 43 children daily and have 18 staff.
We implement Welsh Government initiatives including the Foundation Phase developmental curriculum and the Designed to Smile oral health promotion programme. As well as the Healthy Working Wales (HWW) bronze and silver Small Workplace Health Awards, we have achieved our Quality for All award, Healthy Sustainable Pre-School award, Sun-Safe Nursery Award, Healthy Body, Happy Me Award, Gold Plus Snack Award and 5 stars for Environmental Health. In May 2019 we won Best Early Years Setting in Wales (awarded by Early Years Wales).
We invest in our staff members’ health and wellbeing, for example offering weekly yoga classes with a qualified teacher, and support their continuous professional development through reliably endorsed courses and training.
Abacus Day Nursery aims to:
Use of a Wellbeing Wheel with staff is central to our approach – the Wheel focuses on all aspects of life affecting a person’s mental health including their work life. Staff complete it at our regular wellbeing meetings and this leads to opportunities for line managers to discuss any issues contributing to stress that are identified in individual responses. We always let staff know we are here to support whatever their needs may be.
Two way communication with staff is also a key part of our strategy. We use regular staff meetings and a staff WhatsApp group to highlight individual and collective achievements and celebrations such as birthdays and to plan get togethers. During the pandemic, the nursery remained open - staff in the building had regular chats and staff members on furlough had drop-in chats with other staff members.
Our WhatsApp group allows both part-time and full time staff to know what is going on at the nursery, how they fit in and that they are appreciated. It provides everyone with a sense of belonging and we can share information around seeking support if anyone needs it. Involving all staff through this channel has been rewarding as it keeps staff morale up. Our managers also have an open door policy so all members of staff can approach us to discuss any issues they have or challenges they may be going through.
Achieving the Silver HWW Award and working towards the Gold Award has opened our eyes to the wide range of mental health and wellbeing support organisations and services that are available at both a local and national level. We signpost staff to relevant services if required and we highlight specific information and campaigns during meetings. This provides good conversation starters with staff members about different views and ideas on mental health issues. We have comprehensive policies on topics which may affect mental health such as bullying and harassment and during the Silver Award process we focused on these along with a wealth of other information signposted to us via HWW.