Studies over many years have indicated that early educators are exposed to high levels of stress related to such factors as low pay, lack of benefits, high-stakes responsibilities, low levels of support, and inattention to basic personal care needs. At the same time, the effective early educator has been identified as a primary factor in providing quality early childhood care and education experiences. An additional factor contributing to positive outcomes for your children is a play-based early childhood environment. The current study sought to investigate if playful activities would also be benefit early educators by relieving perceived stress levels. An action study was conducted to determine if a play-based intervention and intentional playfulness by early educators had an effect on perceived stress and well-being. Findings from the study suggest that intentional playfulness by early educators produced a reduction in perceived stress. The discussion of the findings includes suggestions for future studies and practical implications for improving conditions in the field.



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