As many of you may know, we were recently honoured to be shortlisted for one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in the education sector, the TES (Times Education Supplement) School Awards. We were shortlisted for ‘Early Years Setting of The Year’, the first time in which a childminder/home-based childcare provision has ever been shortlisted for this award and recognised as one of the top eight Early Years Settings across the UK.
Whilst we may not have won this award, being shortlisted alone is an honour and we spent the evening in utter disbelief that we were even present at such a prestigious award and watching our video of our little setting being broadcast to the thousands of education professionals in that room was truly overwhelming.
For us, we don’t do what we do to win awards or even be shortlisted for them. As two childminders from a small seaside town, we feel honoured to be in a position to get our message across; that childminding and home-based childcare is a professional and viable childcare option and we as a childminding community have just as much, if not more, to offer than nurseries and other early year’s provisions.
Being recognised at events such as TES and being published in Early Years publications such as Nursery World and PACEY, isn’t about publicity for us as a business, we are keen to act as advocates of the childminding community, not just locally, but nationally, in order to raise the profile of childminding as not only a childcare option, but as a career option too.
We feel lucky to be in such a position to be able to share with the world what we do; the freedom becoming childminders has given us and the incredible benefits this has on the learning environment and opportunities we provide for our children. Society continues to view the childminding profession in a negative light, refusing to accept that the picture in which society has created of childminders and their practice couldn’t be further from the truth.
We hope that by entering and being shortlisted for awards within the sector, as well as writing to and being published in Nursery World and such like publications, we will continue to spread the word and raise the profile of childminding as a profession and hope that one day, childminding will get the respect and recognition it deserves, not only within the Early Years sector but the education sector as a whole.