Teacher Appreciation: We recognise that working in the education sector has been challenging in recent times. Whether this is as a teacher, teaching assistant, childminder, preschool assistant or anyone else involved in the care, learning and experiences of young children.

Everyone in a school or setting plays an important role in shaping children's experiences. From lunchtime supervisors and caretakers to cleaners, teaching assistants and volunteers, the children benefit from the broad skills and experience the entire school community holds.

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Events of the past two years have had a huge impact on the lives and experiences of educators. They have had to quickly adapt to new policies, procedures and ways of working. From having to cover staff absences due to Covid, working in bubbles, providing online learning, considering safeguarding in a pandemic and wearing masks, there has also been the concern over their own health and that of their families. It can't have been easy. Although mitigations have now been removed, the experiences will not be erased. It's important to recognise the way educators have adapted throughout the pandemic, still influencing the lives of children and families but under very challenging circumstances.

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As the end of another school year approaches, we thought it appropriate to celebrate the work of those involved in educating and caring for young children. We know the hours are long and there is often little acknowledgement that you work before children come in, after they leave and also evenings, weekends and holidays. Educators are dedicated to their role and care about the outcomes for the children, working closely with families to ensure the child is always put first. They act as in loco parentis, taking on responsibility for the children during the day when children are in school or settings, looking out for their needs, interests and acting as an advocate. During the year, relationships build as educators facilitate a safe, happy environment in which children are nurtured and can thrive. This might be a school classroom, a nursery setting, a childminder's home - they all hold value in helping children feel like they have a voice, they are valued and respected as unique individuals. Thought goes in to activities, planning, experiences, marking...all to ensure the children are given every possible opportunity to achieve their potential.

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Educators are making a difference for children and families across the country, often in small ways but it are these moments that can mean so much. Words of encouragement and reassurance can stick for a lifetime, influencing the outcomes for children and shaping their futures. What an important role.

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It is now that point where educators and children are navigating transitions. It's a time to make new connections, enjoy new experiences and learn together - children and and those who have played an important role over the last year in nurturing their learning and development. However, it's also a time to remember how far the children have come during the year. Think about those early days in September, establishing boundaries, getting to know each other, managing the transition to now, the end of the year. Some children will have been toilet trained, learned to write their name, settled in after an anxious start, experienced SATs, taken part in assemblies and school performances, enjoyed sports days and stay and play sessions, all impacting on their childhood experiences.

Whether you are a teacher, nursery practitioner, teaching assistant, childminder, apprentice, head, nursery manager, or anyone else working with in the care and education sector, you have empowered children to be confident, happy, curious learners who are inspired to be the best they can be. Let's celebrate the magic that educators work with children each year, each term, each day. They contribute so much to the lives of children, playing a crucial role in shaping their futures.

Join us over the coming week as we look to celebrate educators in schools and settings across the country. We'll be asking you to think back to your own childhood - was there a particular teacher who inspired you to be who you are now? Perhaps you know a childminder who has gone out of their way to impact the lives and education of children and families? We can't wait to hear your stories.

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Are you about to start your teaching career and you are in need of some tips? Take a read of our blog post for 10 Top Tips for Early Career Teachers

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