January saw the launch of the Early Years health and wellbeing accreditation. It was created by the children and families team, in partnership with Public Health.
The aim of the initiative is to help improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families. Early years settings across the borough have been invited to sign up for the accreditation, which supports them to promote and establish the health improvement messages and practices that should form the foundation of their childcare provision.
The rollout was a positive one, despite the challenges of being in the midst of a pandemic, with settings realising the need for such an initiative in Slough. So far, 34 settings have signed up for the accreditation and have begun work that requires assessments in the four areas of: health and wellbeing, nutrition and oral health, physical activity, and emotional and mental wellbeing.
Settings are required to provide evidence that shows how they are helping to tackle health inequalities and enabling families to have a better health outcome. A panel of health professionals evaluate submitted evidence, and the setting is graded with their achieved level of accreditation. Levels of accreditation range from bronze to platinum, with the setting receiving a framed certificate of award, and finally an engraved plaque for achieving platinum.
The accreditation not only highlights areas for improvement but allows providers to showcase the great work they are doing in the local area. Three of our settings have now reached the stage of accreditation and were recently presented with their certificates by Cllr Natasa Pantelic and Cllr Christine Hulme.
Debbie Haden, local childminder and owner of Debbies Dinkies, said: “We've thoroughly enjoyed making progress through the kitemark accreditation, it has made us more aware of how important and beneficial health and wellbeing is for Early Years children. Which also enables the children to make the best possible start in life.”
Aakanksha H Gushani, nursery manager at Bright World Nursery, said: “At Bright World Nursery, we are committed to contributing towards healthy outcomes for young children. We are excited to have achieved our gold award, and to be able to showcase the quality of our provision. This initiative has helped us to promote and establish the best health improvement messages and practices for our children and families.”
Lin Meade, Early Years Professional, Monksfield Way Children’s Centre, said: “Taking part in the kite mark has been a rewarding experience for the whole team. It has helped us to recognise the support we as Children’s Centres already give to the families that use our services, as well as identifying areas we can further develop. We look forward to continuing to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of each child and family that we come into contact with.”
Councillor Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for social care and public health, said: “We're delighted to be presenting these awards today, and would like to thank all the providers for their continued hard work. It’s been a pleasure meeting the children and staff of these three wonderful settings. We hope other settings will continue to sign up for this accreditation.”
Councillor Christine Hulme, cabinet member for children’s services, lifelong learning & skills, said: “We are so proud of our early year’s workforce in Slough and these kitemark awards continue to allow our practitioners, childminders, nursery staff and teachers to give the best start to our youngest residents.”