A better Medway

The Healthy Early Years (HEY) Award is a great way to demonstrate that your childcare setting is committed to giving children an enjoyable introduction to healthy food and food education.

It shows parents that you provide tasty and nutritious meals and have embedded healthy living into your workplace practice.

The HEY Award is open to private, voluntary and independent childcare settings and accredited childminders in Medway.

Helen and Toni from Prima Montessori are Silver HEY Award winners and are currently working towards their gold award.

This is what they said about the HEY Awards:

"We feel our staff have been given the opportunity to learn and upskill in many areas such as oral health, physical activity, cooking with the children and improving meal times. All pre-school settings in Medway should know about the benefits to both staff and families of the HEY Awards and we would encourage them all to sign up to the programme!"

To enrol on the award please get in touch by emailing 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.