The recent bushfires in Victoria have been devastating for many communities.
Some of you, your staff and your families have been affected, along with many children and families attending early childhood services.
First and foremost, it is important to look after your own wellbeing, along with that of your families and colleagues.
If you are in a position to do so, there are things you can do to support children and families attending your services who have been affected.
Some families will be experiencing loss, uncertainty, and unpredictability. Some children may not understand what has gone wrong, but are very sensitive to things not being right.
Early childhood educators play an important role in each child's support network and can aid recovery by providing support and reassurance for children in their care.
How you can help
Some actions you may want to consider to support children in your care include:
- providing a stable, predictable routine or explaining what will happen next where routines need to change
- planning enjoyable activities, play in preferred areas or with favourite toys and opportunities to connect with each other
- allowing children to ask questions and using developmentally appropriate explanations
- if children choose to recount an event through talking or play, listen and acknowledge their experiences away from others who may be affected by the stories
- ensuring there is ongoing discussion with parents about what support is best for their child and any concerns you may have.
There are resources available that are useful for educators, which can also be shared with families:
Seeking further help
If you are concerned for a child's welfare, you can encourage families to seek support through local maternal and child health nurses, health care and relief services in your area.
If you or your staff are personally affected by this emergency or if at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, the following supports are available:
Where to go for the latest information on the 2020 Bushfires
The Department's Bushfires 2020 website is the key source of information about the bushfire response, and resources to help.
The Department is continuing to update the website to include the latest information to support each of these groups.