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Famly’s £5,000 Early Years Award is back

  • Famly’s £5,000 Early Years Award is back

What is the Famly Children’s Champion 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 and a year’s subscription to the Famly premium package for their setting. What’s more, 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.

We’ll start collecting nominations for a Children’s Champion here at Famly on 13 December, 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 and we’ll announce the winner on 31 March 2022.

Why celebrate a Famly Children’s Champion?

Because early childhood lasts a lifetime
Our first five years are the most important of ourlife:

“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.”

“Young children form more than a million synapses per second in the first few years. These critical connections are shaped by our earliest relationships, environments and experiences.”

However, the educators delivering this learning 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
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. On top of the usual juggle between funding and wages, settings are also in the midst of a huge staffing crisis:

“There is a crisis in recruitment and retention in the Early Years sector with qualified and experienced staff leaving the sector due to poor salaries and conditions.”

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.

What makes a Famly Children’s Champion?
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 – someone who clearly and consistently goes above and beyond what would normally be expected in their role.

“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”

Helena Meineck, 2020 Famly Children’s Champion

Who can be nominated?

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.

Who’s on the panel?

Our panel is a group of 11 Early Years experts, including nine from last year’s panel. With their decades of combined experience, each panellist will consider the final 10 shortlisted candidates thoroughly and cast their votes to decide on a winner.

  • Helena Meineck – Famly Children’s Champion 2020 & Nursery Manager
  • Neil Leitch – CEO, Early Years Alliance
  • Dr Sharon Colilles – Senior Lecturerin Early Childhood and Consultant
  • Aaron Bradbury-Coffey – Principal Lecturer & Chair of the LGBTQIA+ Steering Group
  • Alice Sharp – Owner & Creator, Adventures with Alice EY Training
  • Rachel Buckler- Co-Founder, Early Years Hub
  • Dr Stella Louis – Independent EY Consultant & Author
  • Dr Sue Allingham – Owner, Early Years Out of the Box Consultancy
  • Alison Featherbe – EYFS Trainer & Consultant, Orange Caterpillar
  • Jan Dubiel – Executive Principal, Harrow Little Lions Kindergartens & EY Consultant
  • Dr Mine Conkbayir – Independent EY Consultant & Author

Who are Famly?

Famly simplifies the process of managing a nursery — putting things like child information, registrations, staff planning, invoicing, payments, learning journals and parent communication all in one place.

We began making software in 2013 when we realised so many providers were still paper-based, and the existing systems they had access to were clunky, old and just not fit for purpose.

The sector deserves a solution that is modern, easy to use, and actually saves them time.

But it’s more than that – Famly also provides tens of thousands of readers news and guidance about the latest and greatest in the sector. Famly is a one-stop-shop for Early Years settings – their Early Years sidekick.

“I really want to share the wonderful things about working in the Early Years. This award changed my life. It gave me that ‘oomph’ I needed – a morale boost. It revitalised me and gave me more confidence in myself. This award really is valuable.”

Helena Meineck, 2020 Famly Children’s Champion

“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.”

Anders Laustsen, Famly CEO