Early Years Excellence is Teach Early Years’ industry award scheme
The finalists have been assessed, and the judges’ verdicts are in – we’re delighted to now reveal the results of our first Early Years Excellence Awards. In each of the categories listed below, you’ll find a five-, four- and, in most cases, three-star winner. Our finalists were judged on their educational value, cost and capacity to withstand the rigours of use in a busy early years setting. You can click on the images to read our judges’ views, or follow the links to find out more about each winner.
We hope you enjoy seeing who has emerged triumphant this year – and that you’ll find something your setting could use!
Why not take a look at our full Early Years Excellence Awards Special here
B Inspired – Mini Moves CardsFind Out More Find Out More
Health Matters Education – ‘Busy Feet’ Explorers ToolkitFind Out More Find Out More
The Voices Foundation / Alfred Publishing – Inside Music: Early YearsFind Out More Find Out More
“The educational impact of this resource is high, especially for children with speech and language delay/EAL. The PENpal is suitable for all; those of higher ability enjoy the creativity involved, while those with lower abilities are encouraged to develop their skills.”
Suitable for those supporting children in learning to talk, this box set includes ideas for all ages between birth and five years.
“It offers simple but engaging activities, and the majority encourage children’s confidence as well as their communication skills.”
“The kit had a vast impact on children’s listening and attention skills. The children were able to interact with, and take part using, the puppets, which is good for social interaction and building their confidence.”
“This is a diverse and all-round brilliant resource. Staff could easily implement the activities into nursery life, and there are lots of added benefits for children, including helping them to stay active. Mini Moves would be a great addition to a nursery setting.”
“This is a unique product. It provides real-life experiences for children, which is a huge plus, and it contains a vast amount of literature for children to read – it could be utilised to boost a child’s literacy skills within nursery.”
“The pebbles would be a great addition to any child-led environment, offering lots of potential for maths talk. Their ability to stack lends itself to problem solving and discussion, and their multicoloured nature provides opportunities for sorting, matching and patterning.”
“This colourful set provides lots of opportunities to explore basic colour recognition within a fun and age-appropriate activity. Its simplicity makes it ideal for children in early years as an introduction to shared games.”
“A lovely maths resource that uses the characters of Ten Town to encourage recognition of numerals. The online component is supported by lots of resources which could be added to child-led early years environments for use by children within their own play.”
“Cubetto is ideal for nursery settings. It gives staff the opportunity to spark problem-solving skills in children while encouraging them to work together. It also looks a robust resource, employing natural materials (as opposed to the plastic usually found in ICT).”
“This book would provide welcome support to a childcare practitioner. It’s easy to understand and equally informative, particularly the top tips and pointers around health and safety. It’s also flexible as staff can link the activities to a child’s specific interests.”
In ABC of the World Little Lapin travels around the world, from Australia to Zimbabwe, exploring iconic locations, popular landmarks and a host of cultures, introducing young learners to the diversity of communities on Earth.
The Amazing Den Kit allows you to build a host of different den structures from a few simple components...
“This resource is so versatile, offering many possibilities. It will help children to build both their creative and cooperative thinking skills.”
“The diverse shapes and sizes of these beautiful natural wood blocks make them a great addition to any outdoor area, especially for settings with little or no access to natural materials. The variety on offer means they are ideally suited to open-ended play.”
“A lovely set of eggs that will complement existing natural resources and offer the added dimension of sound to open-ended exploration. Great for encouraging children to build on their listening skills as part of their own play.”
“Although we have other wooden toy food, staff and children found this visually appealing and nice to handle. It has lots of uses, with colour matching and some more unusual fruits included, and was popular.”
Available in four different fabric designs, the Writing Belt features lots of loops and pockets to ensure that young children can keep everything they need to practise their mark making skills close to hand when engaged in role play or investigations.
Mini-beasts never cease to fascinate young children, and with this elasticated, one-size-fits-all tabard they can put themselves in a snail’s shell as they play. It even features an antennae-sporting hood.
“We liked this; it was large, substantial, easy to use and pleasing to handle. The children enjoyed using it and the staff felt it was truly open-ended. We would buy it and enjoy it.”
Kid K’NEX features soft, chunky pieces suitable for children with varying manipulative skills. Impressive models are easily assembled (with or without the aid of the instructional diagrams), stay together during play and are quickly dismantled and stored in sturdy tubs.
This is a complete woodworking solution, specifically designed for use in early years settings. The box is jam-packed full of resources for children and adults, including safety equipment, tools, clamp boards and materials.
“I kept coming back to this book. It is a brilliantly comprehensive collection of simple tunes with equally simple guidelines to support their use. All in all, an invaluable resource for the age group.”
"Out of the Ark keep producing innovative songs that are interesting for adults and children alike (important when you get them stuck in your head for days on end!). Their arrangements are excellent and recorded using a children’s choir, which inspires other children."
“This is an impressive-looking piece of kit. It’s colourful and ‘hands on’ with removable bamboo keys that lend themselves to group work as well as solo playing. The children love building their own simple tunes using the cards with matching symbols and colours.”
Part of the First Baby Days series, these bright and bold, high-contrast board books are designed to stimulate a baby's developing vision.
“The books are made from excellent thick board and are good quality for the cost. Everyone loved the double pull-out tabs.”
“This is a good toy for this age group because it doesn’t use jigsaw pieces, and the children are more likely to succeed and persevere in matching the pictures as a result. The pieces are durable too, made with thick board and wipe-clean fronts.”
Action Babies features 200 activity ideas for infants, and is accompanied by a music CD.
“The music was quietly calming and would be used regularly with the babies. The inclusion of the book makes this a good value package.”
“We used Match and Spell to help build letter recognition, as well as knowledge of letter sounds and blending; the children were able to engage no matter what their stage of development.”
Children can enjoy imaginative Jurassic fun with this set of colourful prehistoric figures, which are sure to get them talking. The dinosaurs are made from durable, wipeable plastic and are perfectly sized for little hands. Inside you’ll also find an activity guide.
As little ones tend the farm, they’ll also develop fine motor skills and coordination. The pieces helpfully fit inside the barn, making clean-up and storage a breeze, while a built-in handle makes it easy to take the fun on-the-go.
“The children were fascinated with the table. There was immediate use of language about colours and interest in putting items on top. It’s highly original in the way it is constructed, the variations in lights and patterns, and the sturdy but pleasing shape.”
“This is a really useful resource for learning makaton. The signs are clear and sung as well. There are some new songs, and the backdrops and videos of real life make this a video to watch as well as learn from. It is excellent value for money.”
“This book would be really good for promoting language and talk after a holiday, especially for non-verbal children. There are realistic textures and unusual and rich language for conversations. Overall, the book gives a good full sensory experience, including Braille.”
“I really liked the way that this resource offered concrete ideas for building partnerships with parents. The Schemas booklet and DVD were interesting and useful to share. The home visits booklet gave very helpful advice and the wall planner was a bonus.”
“I was impressed at the range of ideas offered within this resource. It was attractively presented, with lovely photos and useful checklists. The audit would offer a great starting point for thinking about how to develop your setting further.”
“This online resource is a great way to learn more about how young children learn English. I liked the mix of videos and articles, and also the questions posed to make you think about your own practice and experiences.”
“They All Saw A Cat makes you think about how others perceive the world, which is an excellent lesson for young children; The beautifully varied illustrations allow the reader to experience it through different eyes and emotions. Wonderfully executed and highly thought-provoking.”
“I love the underlying message of ‘anything is possible if you use your imagination’ in this book. It’s sure to inspire young readers to make up their own stories. And I love the idea that ‘even the most awesome story starts with a little bit of nothing’, which is something we all have.”
“This wonderfully illustrated tale warmly reminds us to respect and conserve wildlife and its natural habitat. It’s also a great lesson in empathy and problem solving.”