Early Childhood Education and Care News
May 19, 2020
Welcome, this week strategies for reducing the risk of educators sustaining back injuries in early childhood settings. Also, simple ideas to support children's experience of autumn and the seasons more generally.
Techniques and tips to avoid back pain and injury
The reality of working in early childhood education and care means increased rates of lifting, bending and carrying, and these daily demands can pose a significant risk of injury especially to the back, shoulders or neck. It can be a physically demanding job so reducing the risk of harm through a combination of awareness and safe behaviours is important to the health and wellbeing of all staff members.

Ever wondered how much cumulative weight an early childhood educator may be lifting throughout the day? According to a recent Australian study, an educator working with children in nappies is lifting a cumulative load of 193kg in a typical three and a half hour time span. Educators involved in preparation tasks – setting up outdoor environments and moving furniture – were lifting about 187kg in the same time frame.

The study identified changing nappies as the most demanding task on educators’ backs followed by injuries caused by lifting, carrying and moving children and objects. Consider the amount of daily bending and stretching, reaching up and down, to the left and to the right, and it becomes evident that a 'typical day' could easily cause a work-related musculoskeletal disorder in the longer term.
Learning about seasons with autumn colours
What better way to learn about seasons than experiencing them and, as autumn is well underway with its leaves of gold and burnt orange, now is a great time to start.

For a young child, the gradual shift from one season to another can be a difficult concept to grasp. With experiential learning and outdoor activities children can learn about seasons, understand the passage of time and observe changes in nature.

The exploration of seasons includes lots of observation, outdoor exploration, and flat-out fun. To teach the seasons, use pictures and books to describe each seasonal change such as piles of dry leaves for autumn, snow for winter, the beach for summer and flowers for spring.
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