Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Innovation Awards – Guest Blog from Children’s Minister Maree Todd
I often tell people that I have the best job in government, and I sincerely believe that I do. I can’t think of anything more important than trying to improve the life chances of our children and young people, and it’s something that I, along with the thousands of people working in the early learning and childcare sector, strive to do on a daily basis.
It is why one of the flagship policies of this government is the near doubling of funded early learning and childcare from 600 to 1,140 hours for 3 and 4-year-olds, and around a quarter of 2-year-olds. We want Scotland to be the best country in the world to grow up in, and I have seen myself the impact that high-quality ELC can have on our country’s wee ones. It boosts their confidence and communications skills, and offers great opportunities such as outdoor learning.
I have had the pleasure of visiting many brilliant nurseries and other ELC settings over the past year, none more so than the six winners of our inaugural ELC Innovation Awards. We set up the awards to celebrate and promote the innovative work that many settings are carrying out to improve the learning experience of their children. Award winners receive a £5,000 grant to help them to develop their innovative practice and then share it at a national level, helping to promote great working across the country.
The innovative practices can be in many areas. Clober ELC in East Dunbartonshire won an award for the work they were doing developing their outdoor play relating to risky benefit play and developing the children’s knowledge and understanding of food. Conversely, Menstrie Nursery set up ‘Wee Scones Café’, run by the children in the setting to help improve their literacy and numeracy.
Applications are now open for the second round of awards and I would strongly encourage more settings to apply. If you provide funded ELC and believe you have some fantastic practices that others could learn from we want to hear from you. As well as the grant you’ll also receive additional training and a strong network of support. You’ll even get to present at national and local events.
By celebrating best practice and sharing it with others, we can all play our part in creating the best possible learning and care environment for our children.
Best of luck to all the entries!
Apply for the ELC Innovation Award by the 13th January 2020 here