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We’re launching the Famly Children’s Champion 2020 award to tell the wonderful stories of the UK’s very best Early Years professionals. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at why.
This July, our CEO Anders wrote an open letter to the early years sector.
It was his attempt to lay out what we see as some of the problems facing Early Years.
Whether it’s years of gross underfunding, a recruitment crisis, flip-flopping COVID guidance, or the schoolification of play, it all points to one ultimate problem: the lack of respect and understanding of the work that happens in the early years from both politicians and the wider public.
But still, shouting loudly about problems is easy. Offering solutions is the hard stuff. Even for a Duchess.
So ever since Anders wrote that, we’ve been thinking about how we can help provide some of those solutions.
We’re not arrogant enough to think that we can change it all – but we wanted to stop talking about it, and try to at least make a start.
Eventually, inspiration came from a slightly strange source. From an email about…a cleaning company.
In September, we heard about this cleaning chemical company, Tennant, who were running an award to find their Janitor, or “Custodian of the year”. The winner would get a cash prize and have their story told publicly in order to celebrate their important work – along with all the rest of the nominees.
And we thought, if a company that sells cleaning supplies to schools can award a prize, then maybe we could too.
We realised it could:
So, we got to work.
We knew that without clear and obvious criteria for our winner – which in turn would drive the questions we ask – we wouldn’t be able to collect and tell the stories in the best way.
You can check out our full criteria here to make sure that the stories we receive highlight a few key themes, that we think speak to the greatest strengths of the Early Years sector:
That our winner is a true Early Years Professional, always working hard to understand each child and using their Early Years toolkit to support them best.
That they understand how to work with their community, to be inclusive, and to work well with every child, no matter their background.
And that they constantly reflect and improve on their own practice, and help to develop and raise the work of others.
Here are a few other ways that we’re trying to do things differently:
Famly’s goal is to be your Early Years sidekick. Yes, we make and sell software that makes your life easier, but we’ve always tried to go beyond that too. In particular, that goes for this blog – which has over 300 articles, videos and guides to help spread good early years practice.
At the end of the day, we only exist because you do. No more Early Years sector, no more Famly.
And we know that it’s not easy out there right now. We’ve got thousands of providers using Famly every day, and that comes with a responsibility to at least try and solve some of the problems that you face — and ones we can’t just fix with our software.
We’d be lying to you if we didn’t also think these would also help more people hear about Famly and what we do. But rather than spending all of our marketing budget on adverts, we’d rather put that same money towards something that will have a positive impact too.
Nominations for the Famly Children’s Champion 2020 are now open. We’d love for you to nominate someone special in your team, or to reach out to parents asking them to do the same.
You can share our video ad celebrating Early Years professionals like you, and get more people to hear about the awards (here’s the Youtube link).
In February, we’ll be announcing our shortlist of ten finalists, and gathering some of the very best Early Years Experts in the UK to deliberate and decide on the winner. That’s when we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure those stories are told. Both here on our blog, and elsewhere – where people outside of the sector will see them too.
If you know anyone who can help us tell those stories to the wider public beyond early years (we’re thinking journalists, celebrities – maybe a member of royalty or two) please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.