First of many blogs. It’s Nursery World Award Week!
So, excitingly, this weekend is the celebrated Nursery World Awards Ceremony. Nervous? Yup. What to wear, what to wear?!… Some will know we have received a few Nursery World Awards in our time and are enormously proud of them all. Our last one was A little while ago, given, but we’ve had a few other projects to take up our time in between… You know, little things like child outcomes, Ofsted, the nature plot, resources, environments, training… It’s exhausting striving to be the best. But this is Nursery of The Year. The big one. Out of 1000’s of nursery entries we’ve made the top 5 UK finalists. Not bad eh.?
A bit of background perhaps?… Well, the awards are undeniably the most prestigious awards in the early years sector. They put the highest level of practice in the spotlight (we fall into that category apparently) and raise the profile of the hard work early years professionals put into outcomes for children. There are many members of staff that have been with us for a large chunk of this journey but there is no doubt that every member of our current team has played a part. We are super proud of them and make sure to tell them, often.
The visiting judge was Wendy Scott, OBE. She came to see us in August, and it was a buzzing day to remember. Wendy is president of the Association for the Professional Development of Early Years Educators (TACTYC), has taught in a variety of schools, including leading a demonstration nursery school, lectured in early years education and acted as a specialist adviser to the then Department for Education and Skills during the last Labour government.Unsurprisingly she was awarded Nursery World’s ‘Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 an honorary OBE in 2015 for services to childcare. So we weren’t just judged by any Tom, Dick or Harry.
We are proud that the ethos and practices employed by Young Friends are very close to Wendy’s heart. She chatted at length to parents (thank you for your kind words everyone), children and our team. No stone was left unturned. But our contact hasn’t stopped there, I am honoured to say she has been super helpful since then, having recognized the passion and dedication of Young Friends. We loved her (you may have noticed) and her genuine interest and love for children and the profession. She particularly loved Landa our gorgeous lab, of course; the member of the team who she was most looking forward to meeting. Well I guess she has also played a part in the award, kind of.
Wendy repeated a few times, in no uncertain terms, that the achievement lies in making the final 5 and that judging between them is nigh on impossible. So, out of 1000’s of nursery entries here we are, practicing our ‘happy for other people’ faces. We are all terrible actors but will try our best.
So, on Sat afternoon myself, Carly, Jes, Michael and Sue, the management team, will set off for the Brewery in London in the finest outfits we can find. We desperately wish we could take the whole team but the elevated price and ticket restrictions sadly prevent it. But we’ll be in close contact that’s for sure. As they keep saying (we might eventually believe it), it doesn’t matter if we win or not. It’s getting to the final that counts. Is It tempting fate to think about a team party now?