‘Emotional Wellbeing in Early Childhood’ with Debbie Garvey

Knowledge Makes Change seminar 11 – Jersey

The Knowledge Makes Change seminar series aims to inspire and be informative on ‘what works’ for young children and their families to ensure the best possible outcomes. It forms part of NCB’s work in Jersey and is delivered in partnership with the Jersey Child Care Trust. They are free events open to everyone engaged with young children and their families in Jersey.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic 2020, the 11th event in the series was held online and featured Debbie Garvey, who led our thoughts on reflecting on how to look after the emotional wellbeing of children and adults in her key note presentation entitled – Emotional Wellbeing in Early Childhood: Exploring the neuroscience and how to support the emotional wellbeing of children and staff’’

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a year like no other. Since lockdown in March, it has been an extremely challenging and unsettling time for practitioners, children and families, and continues to be so amid the ongoing uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.  Following on from our seminar with Jan Dubiel, in June 2020, where he spoke about the challenges arising as children returned to settings, Debbie Garvey encouraged us further by giving an inspiring and thought-provoking talk about how to support the emotional wellbeing of children and adults. 

Debbie gave an introduction to neuroscience, which clearly explained how the brain works and the effects of different experiences on the brain. Her presentation discussed practical ways to support emotional wellbeing for children and staff in settings, including ‘Keeping Brains Happy’ for both children and adults, the importance of play and the role of adults.

Debbie’s presentation was an excellent combination of theory and reflection, grounded in practice and giving attendees much to think about as well as practical strategies to take forward. It reminded us how important our role as practitioners is and the need to look after ourselves and each other, as well as the children in our care.

In these difficult times and as we move forward to more ‘normal’ times, the evening was both thought provoking and inspiring, as reflected in comments from attendees:

“So inspirational and really make you feel valued as an early years educator. Debbie's delivery was fantastic and even made me shed a tear thinking of some of our students and their home arrangements, particularly during this pandemic.”

“Informative and insightful. Great to hear about so much research around brain development that made sense to us in our roles and the importance of what we do day to day with our little people.”

“So interesting to begin to understand the neuro science behind ‘what makes us tick’ and the similarities between children and adults alike. What is good for children is good for us too!”

“This was an excellent presentation and really what is needed right now. Debbie’s key messages really do support our Current work. Well-being is the glue that will keep us together, and allow us to be strong and happy for the children we are working with.”

Debbie Garvey

 Debbie Garvey has worked in early years for more than three decades championing children, families and practitioners across the entire early childhood sector. Debbie is particularly interested in neuroscience, PSED, leadership, coaching/mentoring and reflective practice, and the roles these play in developing quality experiences for children, families and staff.  She has written several books in these areas and is currently working on three upcoming books, focusing on neuroscience, vulnerability and child development theorists.

Useful Resources

You can watch Debbie’s presentation below:

Read our dedicated Briefing  on ‘Emotional Wellbeing in Early Childhood’.

Slides from the evening are also available online