Nursery World Awards 2021 - Nursery of the Year

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Kiddlywinks, Penrith

You can download the digital Awards book here

At Kiddlywinks, all processes begin by considering the unique child. The setting has become the first Curiosity Approach-accredited setting in Cumbria, while the nursery manager has become the first Curiosity Approach brand ambassador for the area, supporting other local practitioners to create and embed a culture of curiosity, awe and wonder.

The introduction of loose parts and recycled materials has provided an outlet for children’s imagination alongside authentic resources encouraging accountability and strengthening opportunities for children to be empowered in their learning and become the thinkers and doers of the future.

Children are encouraged to express their unique learning styles and interests, and display their own characters both in learning and everyday experiences. Babies are respected and asked permission before any care routines are delivered, on the understanding that if they feel safe and loved, they will grow to feel confident and empowered.

Parent partnership is of the utmost importance at the setting. Proactive discussion is blended with the unique and diverse needs of each family to inform all activities. Parent questionnaires provide information to help staff evaluate, review and reflect on ideas and adapt practice. Children also provide feedback on practice.

During the pandemic, the setting held virtual meetings and fortnightly phone chats to keep in touch with families, and used its Facebook page to promote and support learning at home, share photos and stay connected. Staff read stories, delivered activities and filmed interactive videos, also asking members of the community such as the emergency services to contribute to resources.

The setting has a long-standing partnership with a local day centre which provides support for vulnerable adults with a range of degenerative illnesses. During these sessions, staff and children plan and deliver activities, sing songs and tell stories alongside the users of the service.

Staff are currently creating a network for SEND support to help ensure early identification and action in settings. The nursery also delivers I CAN training sessions, such as Early Talk, to parents, PVI settings, and schools. A mental health support network for new mothers involving stay and play sessions is also in development, while staff have teamed up with local GPs to offer free childcare to encourage attendance at smear tests and vaccination appointments.


Little Stars Day Nursery, Peterborough

Little Stars Day Nursery follows the Aspire curriculum which centres provision on the child, family and staff team, focusing on what children need to know, supporting community involvement, recognising the importance of family and heritage, and championing individuality and imagination.

For 18 years, the setting has provided its community with a place to meet, share experiences, and find refuge and support when needed. The setting supports a diverse community and through its sister community interest company, Stars and Sparkles Foundation, it supports families living in poverty through food and clothing donations, utility financing and signposting services.

The training and development manager works closely with local training providers to offer apprenticeships, traineeships and Kickstart placements at the setting, and managers are working on links with sustainable resource providers with a target of achieving a 75 per cent reduction in non-recyclables and a 90 per cent increase in locally sourced and grown food items by 2025.


Watermead Day Nursery, Loughborough


Open to registered settings offering full daycare for children from 0-5 (private, voluntary or maintained sector), who have an Outstanding grade (or equivalent)

Sponsored by

Nursery World Print & Website

  • Latest print issues
  • Latest online articles
  • Archive of more than 35,000 articles
  • Free monthly activity poster
  • Themed supplements

From £11 / month


Nursery World Digital Membership

  • Latest digital issues
  • Latest online articles
  • Archive of more than 35,000 articles
  • Themed supplements

From £11 / month


© MA Education 2021. Published by MA Education Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 04002826. MA Education is part of the Mark Allen Group. – All Rights Reserved