Nursery workers’ insights sought by the Anna Freud Centre

26th October 2020  |  By: Jenny Album


The Anna Freud Centre has released a survey which aims to bring together new and interesting insights from nursery staff. The survey explores the mental health and wellbeing needs of children under 5 attending nurseries across the UK.



Dr Camilla Rosan, Head of the Early Years Programme at the Anna Freud Centre, said: “Every day nursery workers look after and support children with an extraordinary wide range of backgrounds, life experiences and mental health needs. But up until now there hasn’t actually been that much research which explores their views of the world. We’d really like to know what their frontline experiences are, and about the kinds of needs the young children in their care experience most day to day. There is also little information about the challenges they face when trying to manage these needs, so we’ll be asking about these.”

The Centre believes that nursery workers are a key source of information, and that their insights may well have remained untapped for too long.

Camilla Rosan added, “At the moment, most of our understandings of young children are based on research which focuses on the experiences of parents, and also trained mental health professionals who work within early years. But we realise that nursery workers will have the unique ability to offer an overarching perspective of what is going on with our under 5s across the UK. If we take the time to explore their experiences, they could shed more light on the current nature of our nation’s mental health landscape, when it comes to early years.”

The survey asks question about how often nursery workers encounter children affected by a range of issues, and different life experiences that can affect mental health. Subjects range from family bereavement to different child behaviours or family homelife challenges. It also asks nursery staff about the challenges they may face when managing these needs.

This project is part of the Centre’s wider plan to create wide-scale, sustainable change and to support preventative work with infants and families. This research will also be used to shape and inform the Centre’s Early Years in Mind learning network.

The charity is putting out a request to all nursery workers to complete the survey by November 13. The survey is available by clicking here.

The Centre’s Early Years in Mind digital learning network is a free network aimed at early years’ staff to help them with supporting the mental health of babies, young children and their families.

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