At Learn and Laugh we believe that educators’ own self-care is crucial in order to support children’s learning and development. It is difficult for early childhood educators to be role models for the children they teach, if they are not well supported and cared-for themselves.

On top of that the challenges of leading people, policy and practice can often be overwhelming, particularly when there’s little time for professional reflection or physical well-being. Therefore we aim to facilitate an annual retreat for our leading staff. This annual event provides them with the opportunity to reflect, regroup and look ahead. It allows our directors to deepen connections and have a well-deserved break.

Once COVID restrictions for such gatherings eased, we were finally able to book a weekend away.  Hopefully next year we will be able to resume our international retreats, similar to our Directors tour of Bali in 2019.

For now, 17 of us attended the three-day retreat in the beautiful surroundings of the Hunter Valley. During the weekend we had a painting session to get our creativity flowing. We enjoyed some free time to explore the surrounding towns and wineries. As well as shared meals, laughs and smores by the bone fire. On Sunday morning some of us relaxed with a restorative yoga session and sound healing, to the most beautiful views over the estate.

Melissa, our area manager and Lewisham’s director: “The retreat provided an opportunity for our team to network and further develop our relationships. Getting to know more about everyone in a relaxed context allowed for us to establish a greater sense of belonging and support for one another. Overall it was a lovely time for us to socialise, enjoy time together and simply relax!”