Nursery World Awards 2018: Individuals - Early Years Teacher of the Year

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Christina Noton, Snapdragons Nursery, Atworth

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Christina Noton oversees the practice of the nursery and leads and shapes practice and provision, particularly through her sound knowledge and understanding of the EYFS, close relationships with children and positive partnerships with parents, carers and her fellow professionals. She is a strong mentor and leads by example, promoting the skills and behaviour needed to ensure excellent outcomes for all children.

She leads planning across the nursery and headed up the implementation of a new planning system in consultation with a team of advisory teachers. Her dedication to her own professional development informs her approach to that of her colleagues – she is a passionate believer in the importance of refreshing and extending knowledge and skills. She identifies training needs within her team and then facilitates their development, identifying key skills to be extended or used more effectively. She promotes creative and innovative approaches to practice by supporting opportunities for improvements and by encouraging other members of staff to make suggestions too.

Christina also leads the assessment and cohort tracking across the nursery. She identifies children who are below or above their developmental stage band in areas of learning and ensures individual support plans are put in place, which are written in conjunction with the child’s key person to help inform their practice.

As lead SENDCo, Christina works to ensure all learning and development opportunities at Snapdragons are available to everyone. She works closely with Stepping Stones, a specialist school, to support a baby with chromosome deletion, meeting with his team and parents to discuss his needs and progress and ensuring his development is maintained in a consistent way. She enabled a child with Type 1 diabetes to be fully included in nursery life, organising training at the local hospital for six team members to enable the child to attend all trips outside the nursery despite hourly blood sugar checks and alterations to his insulin pump dose. She has also worked to obtain the support he will need when he starts school in September, completing 60 pages of information for the local authority.

Christina has recently been successful in her application for manager at Atworth and is due to commence that role imminently, while retaining her EYT and lead SENDCo responsibilities.

"Christina makes a difference in her own setting and beyond. She is very confident in her approach and open to new ideas. She works closely alongside parents helping all children to be included in nursery life" — judge

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Teresa Lalley, Lark Lane Pre-school, Liverpool

Teresa is responsible for staff action plans, motivating them to plan exciting new experiences for children.

As literacy advocate, she runs storytelling workshops every six weeks, worked on a book project which saw the children’s work displayed at the Tate, and helped local settings achieve the Liverpool reading quality mark. She has also delivered a programme to raise speech and language standards within city nurseries, and rolled out a creative arts network to local settings.

Teresa recently completed the early years chartered educator programme to help practitioners reflect on learning styles, and has assisted on the Merseyside communication and language partnership project.

FINALIST

Stephanie Green, Woodlands Day Nursery, Timperley

CRITERION

Nominees must have gained Early Years Professional Status (EYPS) or Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) through one of the recognised pathways

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