After we found out Helena was our winner, I had the absolute honour of jumping on a zoom call to tell her the news, and let’s just say…she didn’t see it coming. A huge congratulations to her for such a deserved win, and our shortlisted finalists who are all children’s champions in our eyes. Helena will take away £5,000 to spend however she likes, along with Famly Premium for a year for her setting – and a whole host of other prizes from our wonderful partners.
You can see our full broadcast of the announcement below, including context on the final shortlist, comments on the awards from all 10 of our superstar Early Years judges, and highlights from my chat with Helena when I called to tell her she’d won. Enjoy.
What made Helena our winner?
Separating the Champion from the other finalists was an incredibly difficult job, and for the judges, not an easy (or unanimous) decision. In the end, what made Helena stood out was how her nomination really showed the ways her skill, hard work and passion translated to an amazing experience for the children in her care. Helena is a completely unsung hero, quietly doing the best for the children in her packaway preschool, and the wider community.
She takes time to make sure every family feels welcomed – her setting is multilingual, and she makes sure every holiday is celebrated equally in her setting so all the children feel at home. She even goes beyond that, helping families new to the country navigate immagration requirements, find work, and more.
Helena was the calm amongst the storm in the pandemic – calling every child weekly, supporting parents with activities, and delivering food parcels to those children missing out on their hot meal.
Most of all, her story is one of a reflective professional, who doesn’t allow herself to stand still. She’s constantly thinking how she can be better, and is always on hand to nurture and support the team around her – a team she told me was her greatest asset.
Next week, you’ll be able to read a full interview with Helena, where we’ll run through more of her history, her experience in 2020, and what made her our winner in detail.
The winning submission
Helena was nominated by a member of the community for her amazing work with the children of All Saints Preschool. You can read the winning nomination in full below.