Sara Breingan has won the prestigious Early Years Practitioner of the Year Award, a national competition run by the magazine Nursery World, only months after completing her HNC Early Education & Childcare at Stevenson College Edinburgh.
Sara received her award from Nursery World Magazine at a glittering ceremony in London in October and on 16 November will collect her HNC at the Stevenson College graduation ceremony at the Usher Hall.
Sara Breingan said: “It’s been a big year for me. No sooner had I passed my HNC when I found out I had won the top award for nursery nurses in the UK. It was a nice surprise and I’m not sure that winning the award has quite sunk in yet.”
The Nursery World awards generally look for excellence and exceptional practice in the early years’ sector. For an Early Years Practitioner, the most important qualities are about providing the very best experiences for children and making a difference to their lives.
Sara was nominated for the award by Forbes Nursery in Bruntsfield where she has worked for three years while attending Day Release at Stevenson College. The judges were particularly impressed with the way Sara used her design skills in the nursery. Prior to joining the nursery Sara completed a degree in Design Futures. Chair of the Judges and Editor of Nursery World Magazine, Liz Roberts, said:
“Sara has used her previous design skills to great effect in the nursery, being innovative and designing and implementing new ideas and experiences which have an immediate impact on the children.”
Director at the Forbes Nursery, Therese Duriez, describes Sara as being “outstanding with the children, dealing with them always in a calm, relaxed manner” and “very proactive”.
She added: “Sara has a remarkably natural ability in her dealings with children and never appears forced. She’s always looking to get the best from every child no matter what age.”
Sara also made a good impression with the lecturers at Stevenson College Edinburgh. Her course tutor and Lecturer in Early Education and Childcare, Sandra Taylor, said:
“Sara is not only creative and understands children’s individual needs, she is also very thorough and maintains high standards. She is able to reflect on her practice and is constantly seeking to improve the provision for the children in her care.’