Nursery World Awards 2018: Individuals - Childminder of the Year

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Joanne Marvell, Ashtead

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An inspirational early years practitioner, Jo Marvell has been looking after both pre-school and school-age children before and after school for 21 years. Her years of experience, combined with her evident love of children, mean she excels at what she does. She is patient, tolerant and, above all, extremely kind.

She has an exceptionally positive attitude to professional development, continuously enriching her understanding of requirements and practice, and uses her precise observations to identify next steps for children’s learning and maintain high expectations of what they can achieve.

Jo provides an exceptional range of exciting activities for children, constantly developing their skills in a highly stimulating environment both indoors and outdoors. An excellent role model, Jo has effective arrangements for managing behaviour, and her children understand boundaries, are kind to one another, use good manners, take turns and share.

All children in Jo’s care benefit from being with her because she leads by example. They flourish in her care and, in turn, the parents of the children she looks after can leave for work knowing their children are safe, secure and loved.

Five years ago, Jo was approached by parents whose son, Rory, had been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness at the age of six months. Rory had many medical needs, including developmental delay and physical disability, and Jo cared for him for four years. She was never afraid to load the car with wheelchairs and equipment and take him out on day trips that other children of his age might take for granted; to the zoo, aquarium, sensory room, or to the park to feed the ducks.

As Rory grew, so did his medical needs. Despite the growing challenges, Jo adapted with him, and learnt skills to enable Rory to remain in her care. From meeting with physiotherapists to obtain equipment or advice, learning to feed him through a tube, or learning about airway positioning and how to administer emergency oxygen, nothing was too much for Jo.

Two years later, Rory’s parents brought their newborn daughter, Ivy, to Jo as well, as she continued to go above and beyond to do everything in her power to help both children live life to the full.

When, in October last year, Rory died, Jo was involved until the very end, and continues to look after Ivy to this day. Jo is a typical ‘unsung hero’ who would never imagine that what she does is so special.

"This childminder demonstrates all that is good in this profession and the dedication, inclusivity and support she has shown make her a worthy winner" — judge

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Joana Smith, Croydon

Joana’s second Ofsted Outstanding grade in 2016 is testament to over 19 years’ experience and dedication to professional development.

As lead support childminder, she has represented the London Borough of Croydon in advising and supporting other childminders. Joana also served as chair of the Croydon Childminding Association twice, and helped the organisation grow by embedding governance procedures, introducing social media, and organising regular AGMs, best practice forums and conferences. Joana runs weekly stay-and-play sessions at the local Children’s Centre, and her mentoring has helped increase the number of Good and Outstanding Ofsted ratings in Croydon. She is currently developing safeguarding training for childminders.

CRITERION

Nominees must be registered childminders

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