A better Medway

The Healthy Early Years (HEY) Awards are open to accredited settings in Medway, including:

  • childminders
  • private
  • voluntary
  • independent
  • school based early years settings.

The HEY pathway was designed to recognise, support and reward settings that are working towards or have an approach that promotes a healthy lifestyle. It's a great way to demonstrate that your setting is committed to working with your children, families, staff and community to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The 4 award levels are Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

They focus on different aspects of being healthy, including:

  • physical activity
  • cooking with children
  • healthy lunchboxes
  • oral health
  • emotional wellbeing.

Workshops are available at each award level to support your journey.

Having a HEY award means that parents know your setting:

  • prioritises the health and wellbeing of children
  • provide healthy food and drink
  • receive up to date training and guidance
  • help to give their children a healthy start to life.

Kiddiwinks Preschool have achieved their Gold award and are working towards their Platinum award. Helen says:

“Our Healthy Early Years Gold Award journey has been both rewarding and empowering. The journey has been about the development of our setting, supporting our families and staff members in the promotion of healthier lifestyles through well considered research and embedding healthy living in our everyday practice. Our weekly cooking experiences and parent workshops have proved popular and successful, reaching out to share affordable healthy eating recipes and ideas. Our oral health drive has empowered families to look after their teeth.”

To find out more or to enrol on the HEY award pathway, email: change4life@medway.gov.uk.

What the HEY Award includes

We have created an awards package that complements the work you will already be doing in your setting. Training sessions run during the week and in the evenings.

Modules include:

  • food in the early years setting
  • cooking with children
  • growing food
  • oral health
  • healthy lunches

Participants are given access to printed resources including recipes, a day time helpline telephone number and a quarterly newsletter.

The award is open to the whole setting so different members of staff can attend specific modules depending on their interests and availability.  

The award follows the Early Years Code of Practice for Food and Drink and participating settings will need to meet the Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for Early Years Settings in England. 

Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards 

The HEY Award is offered at three different levels:

  • Bronze (accredited)
  • Silver (advanced)
  • Gold (specialist) 

Bronze Award settings will need to:

  • complete a HEY audit tool
  • identify action points beyond the duration of the awards
  • attend network meetings
  • write and implement a food policy

Silver Award settings will need to:

  • demonstrate that they've been able to embed a healthy eating approach and are successfully sustaining it
  • be active participants at the network meetings
  • produce a case study showing how they are implementing a fussy eating policy
  • show that they are following national guidelines for physical activity in under 5s and promoting active travel

Settings can only apply for a Silver Award one year after they have completed their Bronze Award audit.  

Gold Award settings will need to:

  • demonstrate how they have innovated to maintain their participation in the project, normally over at least two years 
  • share practice to support less confident colleagues in other settings
  • have written and be following an Oral Health Policy, with tooth-friendly snacks and drinks

Free virtual and online training modules:

  • all Early Years staff within a HEY setting can benefit from free online training and virtual training sessions
  • online training includes a variety of topics relating to health and wellbeing for children, staff and how to support parents and carers

We are currently booking for virtual training over the autumn period on the following subjects:

  • Oral Health in Early Years settings
  • Introducing Solid Food
  • Cooking with Children
  • Growing with Children


You need to accept marketing cookies to watch these videos.

Watch a video of Prima Montessori Day Nursery discussing its experience of the Healthy Early Years Award in Medway and how it has benefited the nursery setting, children, staff and parents.

Watch a video of Tara from Little Explorers Day Nursery discusses her experience of gaining her Bronze Healthy Early Years Award.

How to book

For more information on the Healthy Early Years Award, please contact change4life@medway.gov.uk.