Congratulations to the winners of the Nursery World Awards 2022!

Please click here if you'd like to see the full stories of our winners and if you'd like to see the digital awards book:

Online and Social Media Award

Winner: TTS

TTS’s World of Education Hub is designed to inspire, engage and inform the next generation of teachers and practitioners.

Website visitors have access to a multitude of learning materials, thought-leadership articles, exclusive content, and collaborations with experts from across the globe.

Social media marketing is integral to the business, and channels reach a global audience with an increasing level of engagement.

Highly commended: The Old Forge Day Nursery
It's website is brightly coloured and welcoming, reflecting its ethos of creating a home-from-home.


Banana Moon Day Nursery Bromley
Eco Babe Private Day Nursery
Traquinas Childcare

Community Support

Winner: Cherubs Nurseries

Community support has been developed and carefully integrated in Cherubs Nurseries practice. All nurseries take part in regular events planned by their community life champion.

There are weekly visits to residential homes and regular community clean ups. Throughout the year, nurseries fundraise for various charities including this year’s charity partner, Nottinghamshire Women's Aid. Nurseries also collect food and supplies for local food banks and soup kitchens every Christmas.

Highly commended: Traquinas Childcare
Traquinas Childcare staff take pride in raising money for charity and helping families.


GNG Nursery
St Aubin Roath

Working With Parents

Winner: Joint winners - Childbase Partnership and Elmscot Day Nursery Chester

Sponsored by:

Childbase Partnership
Childbase Partnership has launched Chidlbase@Home a password-protected website available exclusively to parents, to enhance 'out of hours' support. It has provided a means of further strengthening parent partnerships and tailoring support to individual families. Nearly 1,500 parents havie accessed expert-led webinars and workshops, and the Parent Library offers a full range of bespoke books relating to milestone events.

Elmscot Day Nursery Chester
The setting’s holistic approach to learning emphasises the belief that everyone involved in a child's life has an equal part to play in ensuring a rich learning experience. Parents’ unique skills and knowledge are promoted in the nursery, and they are regularly asked to share them with the staff team and children. They are often invited in for training sessions alongside staff and attend Forest School sessions and training for parents.

Banana Moon Day Nursery Bromley
Traquinas Childcare

Business Development Award (New Category)

Winner: Adventures with Alice, Alice Sharp

Following the huge success of Adventures with Alice Volumes 1 and 2, managing director of Experiential Play Alice Sharp has developed Volume 3, Leading Pedagogy.

The new format has six hours of professional dialogue and discussion, plus six magazines, 54 poster cards and a reflective staff journal, filled with inspirational ideas and motivational moments for staff to engage in.

Adventures with Alice is now in settings all across the UK and the world, including Canada, USA, Sweden, Ireland and Cyprus.

Back-up Care @Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, Bright Horizons
Muddy Explorers, The Oaks Day Nursery (Birmingham Day Nurseries)
Munchkins Nursery
Smallville Nursery

Team Development Award

Winner: Grass Roots Private Day Nursery

Grass Roots Private Day Nursery focuses heavily on supporting staff well-being and professional development allowing the team to thrive.

Staff are involved in lots of decisions made in the setting and feel confident in knowing what is happening and why. Learning has a direct impact on knowledge and confidence, allowing the setting to extend its outreach, having more skilled practitioners to support a growing number of high-need families.

Highly commended: Kilsby Preschool
A tight-knit group who have developed a strong, supportive and resilient team.

Charnwood Nursery & Pre-school
The Nature Den Nursery

Working with Babies and Toddlers

Winner: London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)

Sponsored by:

London Early Years Foundation recognises the teaching opportunities available at this unique age and that children under two have specific needs.

The group has introduced a formalised approach that gives babies the time and space they need. 'Baby You're Fantastic' training underlines the uniqueness of babies and ensures that sensitive teaching underpinned by excellent care is understood and embedded into practice.

Toddletown Day Nursery

Enabling Environments Award

Winner: Ashbridge Nursery Hutton

Ashbridge Nursery Hutton includes two woodland areas, a low ropes course, outdoor classroom, large rock-climbing area, extensive kitchen garden, adventure play area, on-site animals including donkeys, sheep and rabbits, an expansive meadow and more.

Staff are constantly reviewing the outdoor provision and improving it wherever possible. Children develop a love of the natural world, learn about life cycles and are immersed in the beauty of nature.

Highly commended: Two high commendations
Busy Bodies Child Care Centre
Where a large unused car park was transformed in three months into a unique learning environment for just £600.

Dandelion Education
Whose children own the space, with the freedom to work or play where and how they wish.

Pebbles Childcare

Health and Well-Being Award

Winner: The Children's Kitchen

Sponsored by:

A collaborative project between Bristol Early Years, Feeding Bristol and food educator Jo Ingleby, which provides opportunities for young children to explore and grow fresh produce.

The project is currently working with settings across Bristol, where rates of child obesity and poor dental health are high. It aims to emphasise the importance of building a healthy relationship with food at an early age.

Highly commended: Two high commendations
Bright Horizons
Whose Bright Beginnings well-being curriculum was inspired by concern for the increasing mental health crisis among children.

Montessori Minds
Who maintain a great focus on health and well-being for children and practitioners in the wake of the pandemic.

Elmscot Day Nursery Chester
The Old Forge Day Nursery
Woodlands Day Nursery

Inclusive Practice Award

Winner: The Nest @ Canterburys

The Nest@Canterburys was set up by an early years and autism specialist speech and language therapist, who felt busy mainstream settings were the not the right environment for some children with additional needs.

The Nest now cares for up to 12 children per day and has five full-time members of staff including an early years SENDCO and fully qualified teacher. Staff work with a range of professionals, the NHS and the local authority to ensure children and their families have access to everything they need.

Open University

Nursery Food

Winner: Each Peach Forest School

The onsite chef includes all the children’s special requests and favourites when building menus, but also encourages children to eat a wide variety of foods.

Snacks and mealtimes are a vital part of the learning day, with children chopping up their own food. Working with families is a real strength: Each Peach supports families to access food banks and provides ingredients for home cooking activities.

Imperial College London Early Years
Willow Tree Day Nursery

Eco-Friendly Early Years Award

Winner: Joint winners: Jayne's Nursery and London Early Years Foundation (LEYF)

Sponsored by:

Jayne’s Nursery
Jayne’s Nursery has recently completed the OMEP Education for Sustainable Citizenship Silver Award, and the three pillars of sustainable development; social and cultural, economic, and environmental, are at the heart of practice. Children have run several campaigns in the nursery which have led to a reduction in plastic waste, electricity and water consumption. Significant investment in training has ensured staff are unified, motivated, and confident in their practice.

London Early Years Foundation’s Green (LEYF)
LEYF is determined to improve its sustainability and reach net-zero by 2030. Eco-champions role-model good practice and help other teachers and children take more care of the environment. Sustainability is embedded within the LEYF Pedagogy and gives children a well-rounded education, so they grow up respecting the planet. EYF’s Level 4 qualification, 'Developing Sustainability in the Early Years', supports teachers to enhance their knowledge of the subject.

Childbase Partnership
Dandelion Education
Holly Grange Montessori Nursery

Professional Book of the Year

Winner: Playful Mathematics by Helen J Williams, SAGE Publishing

Playful Mathematics by Helen J Williams, SAGE Publishing features practical suggestions for working with children aged three to seven, and is a 'how to' book for early years maths. It empowers early years teachers to see the learning in mathematical play and to remain committed to play-based practice, to have confidence in their own mathematics ability and to open up learning about numbers, patterns and shapes for the children they work with.

Highly commended: How to recognise and support Mathematical Mastery in Young Children's Play by Di Chilvers (Ed), published by Routledge - practical handbook with lots of ideas to support practice built on a solid foundation of theory and research.

Introduction to Neuroscience and Self-regulation in Early Years by Dr Mine Conkbayir, Hallmark Education - a highly accessible introductory guide to the neuroscience underpinning early brain development.

A Guide to SEND in the Early Years by Kerry Murphy, Bloomsbury Education
Alphabet Rhyme Time by Michelle Larbey, Learnwell Trading 
Discover Creativity with Babies by Louise Day, Routledge
Observing Gabby by Cath Arnold, Open University Press / McGraw Hill

Pandemic Response Award (New Category)

Winner: Wiggles and Giggles Nursery

Sponsored by:

Wiggles & Giggles Nursery provided round the clock support to its families and local community throughout the pandemic via a 24-hour helpline and text-in service.
The service was a lifeline for people struggling with isolation, loneliness and anxiety, keeping spirits up during the bleakest times. The nursery shared contact details for mental health support, food banks, crisis teams and early intervention teams, and ensured a member of their team was available for anyone who needed them.

Abacus Ark Nursery School

Early Years Apprentice of the Year (New Category)

Winner: Jack Bedder, SEND to Learn

Sponsored by:

At just 17, Jack is an incredibly valuable asset to the team and is helping break down barriers of discrimination towards both males in the early years and disability in the workplace. Jack has overcome and is still dealing with so many life-limiting issues, and yet he has managed to find a career where he can excel and show young children and their parents that you can achieve and fulfil your dreams despite the hurdles.

Jack’s confidence and belief in himself has grown tremendously since starting his apprenticeship and he is not only thriving but is able to create an environment and activities where children can flourish.

Claire Ratcliffe, The Lime Trees
Leanne Rowlands, Kids Planet Day Nurseries
Skye Stephens, Fit 'N' Fun Kids

Trainer of the Year

Winner: Cheryl Bedding, Aperion Training

Sponsored by:

Cheryl is a specialist SEND trainer, and also offers broader training within the EYFS to support and improve outcomes for children. As a parent of children with SEN, Cheryl’s training offer is of a consistently high standard while also being relatable. ‘Her warm and motivating demeanour is infectious and embraces each practitioner she meets, leaving them wanting to learn more!’ says one of her nursery clients. Cheryl is friendly, approachable and above all extremely knowledgeable.

Amy Alderson and Drew Radford, Tops Day Nurseries
Dr Mine Conkbayir, Mine Conkbayir Consultancy
Trisha Lee, MakeBelieve Arts
Liz Pemberton, The Black Nursery Manager Training & Consultancy  
Kym Scott, Place to Learn

Childminder of the Year

Winner: Julie Dixon, Julie & Jo's Childcare

Sponsored by:

Julie has been a childminder for over 25 years and has cared for more than 100 children. By providing and planning the use of a wide range of resources and activities focused on the children's individual and group interests, Julie creates a culture of curiosity, awe and wonder that ignites and inspires children's enthusiasm to play and learn in a caring and nurturing environment whilst always maintaining her beaming smile and positive energy.

Chelsie Orange, The Little Orange House
Laura Perfetti, Playhood

Nursery Practitioner of the Year

Winner: Beth Cooper, Boston Nursery School

Sponsored by:

Working in a nursery in an area of high deprivation, Beth’s passion and forte has proved to be providing support and intervention for the setting’s two-year-olds and those who are at high risk of falling behind in their learning. Beth's commitment and expertise ensures her two-year-olds make outstanding progress, outstripping predictions based on prior attainment. This year, Beth was promoted to lead practitioner in recognition of her talents and her desire to share her experience with her colleagues.

Highly commended: Jojo Chuong, Snapdragons Nurseries 
Jojo has been instrumental in creating nurturing environments, embedding practice and moulding a cohesive, knowledgeable and happy team in the Baby Pod.

Lydia Roberts, The Lime Trees
Megan Williams, Montessori Minds

Nursery Operations / Area Manager of the Year

Winner: Sharon Thompson, Spring by Action For Children

Sharon started at Spring as a nursery manager in 2012, and her commitment and passion saw her move quickly into a senior role. She now provides specialist support and quality assurance to managers across the group to ensure a culture of high performance and continuous improvement. ‘Sharon always demonstrates exceptional vision and leadership, ensuring that her team of managers and beyond live and breathe the Action for Children values and beliefs,’ says one colleague.

Highly commended: Michelle Gascoigne, Tynemouth Nursery Group
During a major overhaul, Michelle was fundamental in reintroducing and embedding the company ethos across its six settings.

Catherine Baker, Paint Pots Preschool & Nursery
Gemma Fletcher, Kidzrus Group

Nursery Manager of the Year

Winner: Priya Patel, Inspire Montessori Schools

Sponsored by:

In Priya's eyes, children are always the centre of everything; they influence daily decisions, and are made to feel involved, included and important. She is readily available to her families through her open-door policy which includes calls and emails. Priya is a mentor, a leader and often an agony aunt for her staff team, and understands the importance of people being happy, respected and loved.

Highly commended: Katie Humphries, Tops Day Nurseries Havant
Katie has been at the forefront of the nursery’s transformation, setting high expectations for all.

Steph Mattin-Moss, Nature Den Nursery
Stacey McMorland, The Nursery at Whitehouse Farm
Nicky Willetts, Tops Day Nurseries Wareham

Outstanding Contribution

Winner: Sheila Kaye, Little Chums Nursery

Sponsored by:

Sheila’s 44-year career began in a children’s home in London. She worked as a teaching assistant at Galleywood Infant School for over 20 years, and has been at Little Chums Nursery for six years, as a key person.

Throughout her career, Sheila has supported all children, but her real passion and talent lies in nurturing children with special educational needs and disabilities. She builds strong bonds with children others find hard to reach. Her longstanding contribution to the lives of children makes her more than worthy of this award.

Highly commended: Katie Watson, Northumberland County Council
In her 40-year career, Katie has made a huge difference to children, families and staff.

Mandy Farrar, Diamond Wood Community Academy
Carole Henderson, Bright Horizons
Ursula Krystek-Walton, Thrive Childcare and Education
Alison Owen, Bolton Start Well, Harvey Nursery

Childminding Business of the Year

Winner: Cally Smith Childcare

Sponsored by:

An outdoor setting offering a variety of Forest School activities, Cally’s home provides a calm and focused learning environment. With high expectations of what children can achieve, Cally and her team introduce age-appropriate challenges and encourage them to develop a can-do attitude. As a result, children's voices are valued and respected. The team provides a sound, supportive and inclusive learning environment thanks to a consistent commitment to their own personal and professional development.

Highly commended: Julie & Jo's Childcare
Staff dedicate many evenings and weekends to preparing resources for children.

Bonding School
Titches Childminding

Pre-School of the Year

Winner: Willow Brook Preschool, Wolds Childcare

Sponsored by:

At Willow Brook Preschool, part of Wolds Childcare, children are at the core of thoughts, practice, planning and delivery. At the Forest School site, children are provided with a wide range of opportunities to benefit from wildlife areas, woodlands, fields, an allotment, and upcycled equipment to promote sustainability. Children develop a love of learning through a comprehensive and extensive curriculum. A strong team of qualified professionals undergoes constant training.

Highly commended: Muddy Boots Pre School
Muddy Boots Pre-school is run from a purpose-built cabin, nestled in woodland, allowing children to follow their own learning journey immersed in nature.

Ashby Pre-School Academy, Storal Learning
The Lime Trees

Early Years in School Award

Winner: Trinity Primary Academy

Trinity’s early years team offers inclusive and representative provision to meet the needs of its children and families. Our judges said that Trinity’s holistic curriculum was highly reflective, adaptable and innovative. Nurture groups and bespoke timetabling help to enable all children to make above average levels of personal progress. A weekly child-led Forest School session supports children to develop high self-esteem, a positive attitude to learning and strong relationships.

Highly commended: Penketh South Primary School
Where a warm, welcoming and nurturing environment facilitates a sense of belonging.

Newlands Spring Primary and Nursery School

Nursery Group of the Year

Winner: Kindred Nurseries

Sponsored by:

A group with an obvious commitment towards quality and an impressive curriculum, said our judges. In three years, Kindred Nurseries has more than tripled in size, going from six settings to 23. The launch of Kindred’s pedagogy this year has had a huge impact on the group’s ability to deliver consistent, high-quality care and education across all its settings. Passionate about staff well-being, the group offers a team of PANCos and 50 qualified mental health first aiders.

Highly commended: Stramash Social Enterprise
A registered charity operating four fully outdoor nursery settings in Scotland.

Ashbridge Independent School and Nursery Group
Finkley Nurseries 
Sleepy Hollow Group
Stars Day Nurseries 
Wolds Childcare 

Nursery of the Year

Winner: Bee in the Woods Kindergarten

Sponsored by:

Bee in the Woods is a unique space, located through some council-owned allotments which open up into woodland. It has no indoor space, electricity or lighting, no toilets other than compost toilets and toilet tents, and no running water between November and March.

Everything is recycled, found or re-used. The small setting has high ratios of staff to children, and views children and adults as equals in a community of learners. The curriculum is entirely child-centred, harnessing the natural environment, community and the power of play. The setting offers funded full-time places to families in need from the local area.

Highly commended: Charnwood Nursery & Pre-school
Interwoven throughout Charnwood’s bespoke curriculum is thoughtfulness and care for children's well-being, addressing the impact lockdown has had on children and families.

Blue Giraffe Childcare
Grass Roots Private Day Nursery 
Meadow Lane Children’s Nursery

Lifetime Achievement

Winner: David Wright, Paint Pots Nurseries

Sponsored by:

There are few people within the early years that truly make a difference to the sector as a whole, and those who do usually do it from a distance as an author, trainer etc. However, this person broke the mould and decided to do it all and mainly in person. If you have ever been to an early years event you will certainly have met this man. His passion for supporting ALL, children, families, staff, children, home and worldwide is infectious. But how he got to where he is now was not a straightforward route.

In terms of his career, David Wright is a relative latecomer to early years. Having studied economics at London University in the late 1970s, he realised that he was not cut out for accountancy or banking. Having zero experience of IT or computing as it was then called, he applied for a role as a computer programmer, a decision that led to a 25-year career as a technical specialist.

During this period, he and his wife Anna tragically lost their first son, Samuel, who died of cot death aged 7 months. The subsequent joy of having three children following IVF treatment was tainted by the loss of William who only lived for one day. Their family was finally completed when they adopted a five-year-old, 15 years later, following a very drawn-out process.

David willingly shares his personal information because he wants others to know that he is shaped by these experiences, not defined by them. He understands how precious every child is and he is determined to use what he has lived through, the time and resources he has available, to make a difference for as many children as a possible, across the world. It shapes his philosophy of education and his pedagogy. David says it has made him a far more compassionate individual and gives him a perspective on what is really important in life.

Following the birth of their children, Anna opened a preschool in their home. This eventually outgrew both the space and time available, and the business moved into its own building. Over time this expanded to 10 Paint Pots settings in the locality, and 18 years ago David left his role in IT to join Anna in their early years business. He started in the rooms, studying for a level 3 NVQ, quickly followed by gaining Early Years Professional Status in its first cohort of students.

He realised early on that, as a male in early years, he was in a minority. He was determined to look beyond his immediate circumstances to expand his knowledge, to build networks and to extend his influence where he felt he was able to help.

Some people do not even know his name as he is often referred to as Mr Paint Pots. David is the happiest and most proud when he is being a husband, dad, grandad and spending time on the floor having fun with children. I know this to be true because I have seen this man playing stickers with his grandchild and ending up being covered from head to toe.

He is literally the Right Man for the Job, if you ever need to question are you doing the right thing, then all you need to ask yourself, what would this man do? and then you would know you are always doing the Right thing. If we could clone David, our recruitment crisis would be over.

He may be part of a group that makes up only three per cent of the workforce but his energy, commitment, generosity of time, sacrifice and passion fills that huge gap.