Throughout the coronavirus pandemic early year’s have been the unsung hero. We’ve been called upon to deliver business as usual without proper support, clear guidance or adequate protection. On every occasion we have undoubtably delivered and gone above and beyond to provide our service to both key worker children in the first lockdown and all children in the latter.
Today we’re celebrating and highlighting the commitment shown by the early year’s sector across the country, along with a whole host of nursery chains and independents, as well as the National Day Nurseries Association. To celebrate the outstanding efforts of early years educators, who have provided essential stability and support to families throughout the pandemic, the sector is asking members of the community including parents, children, support colleagues and practitioners to share a photo of themselves in support of the initiative, using the hashtag #ThumbsUpForEarlyYears, on Thursday 18 February.
Susan Mills, Managing Director, said “Our people are at the heart of everything they do. The past year has proved we are more than just a childcare service – we are professionals who care deeply about the job we do and the outcomes of the children. Today is a great way to recognise the outstanding work and dedication early years have done throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll be recognising our team today but also at our Excellence Awards in July and National Nursery Practitioner Day in October.”
Despite recognition like this, it is important to use days like this to highlight issues the early year’s sector is currently facing mainly due to chronic lack of funding. Moreover, throughout the pandemic early years have not had access to free testing or been highlighted as a priority group to receive the vaccine. In press conferences and guidance we have been constantly overlooked as a sector. Whilst recognition really does go a long way it cannot be used to deflect from the current issues at hand (some of which have persisted for years previous to the coronavirus pandemic). These can only be rectified by the UK Government and radical change in policies that effect early years providers. We hope the pandemic has shown the essential role early year’s providers have and how much of a priority the sector needs to be moving forward if it is to successfully recover and be sustainable in the long run. It is no longer acceptable to have just a Secretary of State for Children and Families. Early Years needs and deserves its own representative who will work to remedy long-standing sector-wide issues and protect the integrity of a sector who has given so much for so little in return.
We’ve shared a variety of photographs of our parents, children and staff across social media. Head over to Instagram to see more (@CherubsNurseries).