In November, our passionate Family First staff had the incredible opportunity to share their experiences on stage at the prestigious Nursery Manager Show in ExCel London, alongside the esteemed Lorraine Kelly.
During this enlightening event, we had the privilege of discussing best practices, and Lorraine Kara, Nursery Manager at The Hackney Day Nursery and Preschool, graciously shared her inspiring journey in Early Years education. We invite you to delve into their insightful Q&A session below.
Promoting Diversity in Early Years Education
As we navigate the exciting world of early childhood education, we recognise the importance of promoting diversity and inclusivity. One particularly hot topic that emerged during our discussions was the pressing issue of the underrepresentation of men in the field. Recent research by the Department for Education (DfE) revealed that only 4% of professionals working directly with children are male. Read more about Men working in Early Years.
Celebrating Success at the NMT Nursery Awards
The Nursery Manager Show was followed by the National NMT Nursery Awards, where we proudly celebrated not one but two remarkable achievements. The accolade for “Nursery Indoor Learning Environment of the Year” was warmly received by the dedicated team at Buckden Day Nursery, while the title of “Nursery Chef of the Year” was rightfully bestowed upon Sam Handley at Head Start, Crews Hill.
Q&A with Lorraine Kelly
Here’s a glimpse of our enlightening Q&A session between Lorraine Kelly and Lorraine Kara, Nursery manager at The Hackney Day Nursery and Preschool.
1.What inspired you to become a leader in Early Years?
During the 2008 presidential election, President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech resonated with me profoundly. His words, “To make a difference in the community and to be the voice of change to create hope for a better day,” inspired me to become a leader in Early Years. My goal is to motivate children to believe that anything is possible and to ensure that every child feels valued and important.
2. What was the biggest challenge you faced in your nursery?
One of the significant challenges we encounter in our industry is the lack of respect. Early Years professionals play a vital role in children’s development, and it’s essential that our contributions are recognised and valued.
3. How do you support wellbeing in your setting?
Family First prioritises the wellbeing of our staff. We offer monthly wellbeing drop-in sessions for all managers, providing them with the opportunity to step away from their desks, learn stress-reduction techniques, and seek help when needed. We believe that taking care of our team’s mental and emotional health is crucial to providing the best care for children.
4. How do you support career development for young staff?
We have an apprenticeship scheme that supports and guides staff to achieve levels 2 and 3 qualifications. Additionally, we recently expanded our program to allow staff to pursue level 4 and 5 qualifications, which can lead to university education. This comprehensive approach ensures that our team members have opportunities for professional growth and development.
5. Can you tell me about the role men play in Early Years?
Men bring a unique perspective to the Early Years field. I have a Deputy Manager and a male chef who actively engage with children during afternoon sessions. Children enjoy their interactions, and the diverse perspective that men bring helps create a balanced and enriching experience for all children in our nursery.