Nursery World Awards 16: Individuals - Newcomer of the Year

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Laura Cox, Kids Planet, Crosby, Liverpool

newcomer

With ambitions of qualifying as an early years teacher, drama graduate Laura hit the ground running at her first setting and, just months into the role, she has already made improvements to it.

The strengths she demonstrated at interview have transferred readily to her practice and she is known for her great ‘enthusiasm, passion and ideas’. In supporting her room leader, Laura ensures her planned activities are challenging and fun for the children to keep them developing to the best of their ability.

She has been carefully applying her ongoing studies at Edge Hill University to her work, adapting the EYFS to her knowledge of children’s interests. Eager to build her responsibility, she has seized opportunities at the setting, taking on the role of health and well-being lead co-ordinator. That entails monthly audits on the outdoor curriculum to ensure an outstanding quality of teaching, with an optimal range of activities – even chipping in ideas to challenge what is being offered.

Laura’s EYT mentor says, ‘From the start I have been overwhelmed by the passion and commitment Laura has put into her EYT course. At first she was unsure of how she would be able to evidence so many criteria, but after she completed her first few tasks and attended her first few lectures she had ideas after ideas about the types of things she wanted to introduce into our setting and was fully aware of how these would benefit all children.’

She adds, ‘Laura will very often send me notes, pictures and ideas late outside of working hours about the things she has seen. She has enhanced our outdoor areas and we have used her EYT funding to purchase new resources.’

Laura started by sending out questionnaires to parents and consulted with children and staff on what they would like to see. One of her innovations, which she worked on partly in her own time, was getting the setting – as well as parents – involved in the NDNA’s Healthy Body Happy Me week, which she documented on social media.

The mentor adds, ‘I am so proud of everything she has achieved having only been in our setting for a short period of time and having only completed eight months of her course.

‘She deserves to be recognised for her hard work and I couldn’t think of a better person to be nominated for Newcomer of the Year.’

‘Evidence of commitment and passion for early years, even as a newcomer’ - Judge

Finalist

Olivia Shirley, Barfield School, Farnham

Criterion

Early years practitioners must have had less than one year’s experience at closing date

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