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Employer Newsletter – Fall 2020

Oct 20, 2021

Top resources that support return-to-work best practices

We recently published a series for RECEs filled with information, tips and insights. Our goal? To help those who work in child care return to on-site work, professionally and confidently.

It got us wondering: what resources do employers need to feel confident and to support their teams during this key transition?

Here are 13-plus informational links that will help you map out a strong plan for the road ahead:

College of Early Childhood Educators

1.    Reopening with Lindsey Dann– RECE, College Council member and child care supervisor

2.    COVID-19 resources webpage for employers

3.    CollegeTalk blog article: The power of virtual connection (May 2020)

4.    CollegeTalk blog profile of an RECE in emergency care: Rachel Pollard (June 2020)


Reopening learning environments

5.     Government of Ontario: Reopening schools and their Guide to reopening Ontario’s schools

6.     Ontario’s Ministry of Education: Reopening child care and early years programs

7.     Government of Canada: COVID-19 Guidance documents

8.     Government of Ontario: Resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace


Health, safety and well-being

9.    Public Services Health and Safety Association: Health and Safety Guidance during COVID-19 for Employers of Child Care Centres

10.  Public Health Ontario: Coronavirus Disease 2019 resource hub

11.  School Mental Health Ontario: Resources for supporting mental health during COVID-19

12.  Centre for Addiction and Mental Health: COVID-19 information and resources

13.  Government of Canada: Taking care of your mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic


If you have any resources that you would care to share, we’d welcome your contributions. Email practice@college-ece.ca.

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Manage stress to lead through change

Managing through change can be stressful. We’re focusing on how you can combat stress and anxiety in order to lead and support others.

We connected with two registered professionals in mental health to talk about the best ways to manage stress.

Photo of Kelly Falconer
Kelly Falconer, MSW, RSW  |  I’m the Manager of Immediate and Brief Services with the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Niagara branch. I oversee crisis services. I also provide support to the Justice Team who works with individuals with mental illness who are going through the court system.

As well, I help out mental health coachs who support individuals using YWCA services or Start Me Up Niagara. I’m proud to have worked in the mental health field for more than 20 years.

Photo of Nadine Furbacher
Nadine Furbacher RP, MACP, BBA |  I’m a registered psychotherapist. I’ve worked in counselling, social work and mental health for 14-plus years. My background is in community mental health and university settings. Recently, I launched my own practice (Willow Rock Wellness). My focus is on helping adults in support and service professions.
I strive to improve client well-being – be it with mood, shifting negative patterns or fostering deep healing. I offer a collaborative and supportive therapeutic approach to sustaining mental well-being.


A case for self-care

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health defines self-care as doing things that help you and your team relax, feel better and that you enjoy, especially during times of stress. “Self-care can add meaning to your life while also supporting your health.”

Our experts shared their suggestions for self-care, and how you can encourage your teams to make it part of their routine. Here’s what they had to say:

Nadine:  “Daily self-care is a must – our bodies need healthy routines for sustainability, to refuel energy and build resistance to the additional stress we’re now carrying.  Some positive habits include drinking water, movement and getting enough sleep.”

Kelly:  “Two ways to keep anxiety at bay are building back a more regular sleeping and eating routine that may have been lost during quarantine. One suggestion to help bring self-care into your daily routine is to see if you can find something to do that signifies a switch back into your home-life at the end of the day – maybe it’s listening to music on the way home or taking the dog for a walk. Whatever it is that you choose should be something to help you get your mind off work in order to reset.”

Finding calm amidst the unfolding pandemic

“Anxiety happens when the brain can’t solve how to fully protect us from a perceived threat,” Nadine explains. “It fires up our nervous system with painful, intrusive thoughts and feelings, which could mean that you may be on high alert when returning [to work].”

In scenarios where you begin to feel overwhelmed, our experts have the following suggestions:

Kelly: First, take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds before releasing. Remind yourself, and repeat it as you breathe deeply, “I’m okay, and I’ve got this” as it has a calming effect. From there, ask for help from a colleague, or review the policy around the situation that has brought about panicked or anxious feelings. The instructions in the policy are meant to keep you safe.

Nadine: Think of panic and the idea of overwhelmed as a burning building. The superhero to fight this burning building as it grows is Mindfulness. Here are some practical steps to enact mindfulness:

  • Intentional thinking – “I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s uncomfortable, and I’m managing it.”
  • Paced breathing – inhale for counts of three, and exhale for counts of six.
  • Communicate – ask your colleagues for help.

By making your well-being a priority through routine self-care, you’ll be prepared to manage work stress in a sustainable way. Additionally, it will enable you to lead and support your team through the changes brought on by the pandemic.

Mental health resources

If you’re looking for support for mental health and wellbeing, find your own local Canadian Mental Health Association.

ConnexOntario is also available to Ontario residents. They’re a 24/7 service that provides information for those experiencing issues with substances, mental illness or gambling.

Bounceback Ontario’s 10 things you can do right now to reduce anxiety, stress, worry related to COVID-19

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Two adults having a discussion

How to support RECES with practice adaptations​​

With so many protocol changes as the pandemic continues to unfold, many on your team may be wondering how they can provide the best in early learning and care while also upholding new health and safety protocols.

So, we’ve put together some tips and resources to help you support your staff’s adaptations in their practice approach:

Encourage adaptation. RECEs are regularly adapting to changes. Provide them with clear direction about the quality assurance requirements set out by the province and your local municipality.

Encourage reflection on their approach to pedagogy and curriculum. Ask how they can adapt their approach to the uniqueness of the families and children they support, and also to the health and safety protocols in place.

Encourage communication with you when in doubt about any of the protocols and policies in place.

Help RECEs find new ways to connect with families. As many will be unable to enter the physical location, RECEs will need to find new ways to build and support connections. How can you support them in strengthening these relationships?

Getting resourceful

As Lindsey Dann, RECE, College Council member and child care supervisor told us, she’s doing her best to remind RECEs that they’re capable, qualified and ready by providing them with “reassurance and taking all their concerns into consideration; staying on top of new guidelines and changes to existing ones; and offering training to staff.”

Here are some resources you can share or work through with your team:

By letting your team know you’re there to navigate the changes alongside them while also encouraging them to adapt their own approach to practice, staff will feel supported and confident in their efforts to provide the best in programming and care.

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