“You’re taking care of someone’s child - the responsibility is huge. It’s so important to highlight that people that work with children are valued, especially as we’re not paid very much. The more positive things we can do, the better”
That’s Helena Meineck, our first ever Famly Children’s Champion, beautifully describing why we created this award.
Famly want to find and celebrate the very best early years professional in the UK and Ireland - and award them £5,000. The winner will also get a trophy for the mantelpiece and a year’s subscription to the Famly premium package for their setting. What’s more, for making it to the top ten, the nine runners-up will also receive prizes from our brilliant partners, including Early Education, Teach Early Years, Early Years TV, Childcare & Education Expo, and Early Years Hub.
From December 13th we will invite you, leaders, fellow staff, and parents, to nominate the ‘hidden gems’ you work with (sign up to our newsletter to get all the latest). We’ll collect those nominations here at Famly, and after a round of public voting and deliberation, we’ll announce a shortlist of 10 nominees. These 10 potential winners will be assessed by a panel of Early Years experts, including our 2020 Champion Helena Meineck, Neil Leitch of the Early Years Alliance, and independant consultant Mine Conkbayir to decide the 2021 Famly Children’s Champion. We’ll announce the winner on March 31st 2022.
Because early childhood lasts a lifetime
Our first five years are the most important of our life.
The OECD found in their 2020 International Early Childhood and Well-being Study that “Children’s early learning and well-being have a direct and enduring impact on their later educational attainment, socio-economic status, health, well-being and civic engagement.”
However, the educators delivering those skills and knowledge have been undervalued and unrecognised in society as a whole. At Famly we want the Children's Champion award to help show the world all of the amazing work that goes into caring for children in their first five years - and how it impacts every year afterwards.
Because Early Years workers need recognition
When we started this award a year ago, we were celebrating the outstanding commitment to Early Years that sector workers had shown, especially during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But although we’re a year on, the sector still needs help. “If you’re in Early Years, it’s because you love doing what you do… but times are hard,” Helena says.
In our day-to-day work with settings all over the UK and Ireland, we get an inside look at the struggles Early Years sector workers face, and we hear you. On top of the usual juggle between funding and wages, settings are also in the midst of a huge staffing crisis. Unfortunately, Famly can’t produce more qualified practitioners, or higher wages, but we absolutely can showcase, celebrate, and reward the incredible contribution made by those working with children to the families they look after.
Because we’ve seen the impact it has
We’ve seen what an amazing effect being a Children’s Champion can have. Since winning last year, Helena says she’s become confident enough to speak to apprentices at Exeter College and shared her childcare expertise in articles for the Famly blog. “I really want to share the wonderful things about working in the Early Years”, she says. And on a more personal note, “This award changed my life. It gave me that ‘oomph’ I needed - a morale boost. It’s revitalised me and given me more confidence in myself. This award really is valuable.”
To make the competition fair there are, of course, criteria that help the panel judge the overall Children’s Champion.
More generally, the Children’s Champion is an all-round Early Years professional.
“The award is about finding that hidden gem, those people out there who work silently, who love their job, are dedicated, innovative, passionate, holding something together for their community. It’s about recognising them and the work they do.”
The competition is open to anyone based in the UK or Ireland, over 18 years old, working with children in an Early Years setting.
To nominate, you must be at least 18 years old and know the person you nominate by either working together or because they care for your child. You must also be based in the United Kingdom or Ireland.
“After the amazing response to the first ever Famly Children’s Champion award, I’m delighted to be launching the award again this year. It was genuinely touching to hear about the effect the award has had on Helena, our 2020 Children’s Champion, and I can’t wait to pass the award onto another deserving winner.
What came through so clearly in all the nominees was the dedication, passion, and drive to go above and beyond what’s expected of them. It reminds us what a privilege it is for Famly to be part of a sector where there are so many sensational people.
But just saying ‘well done’ isn’t enough. We started Famly on the simple idea that we wanted to make the lives of Early Years educators easier, and now thanks to all of you, we’re able to go even further. Once again this year, we’re giving away £5,000 of our money to the winner, alongside a free Premium subscription to our software, as well as the generously donated prizes from our partners. We hope this can make a real difference in the life of our next Children’s Champion, and demonstrate our commitment and gratitude to Early Years sector workers.”
Famly is a nursery management app based in Copenhagen, Denmark. We work with thousands of early years professionals every day, supporting single settings, large nursery groups, after-school clubs and everything in between.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.