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
  • provides healthy food and drink
  • receives up to date training and guidance
  • helps 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 for the first year
  • cooking with children
  • growing food
  • oral health
  • healthy lunch boxes
  • having difficult conversations
  • physical activity
  • cook a story
  • picky eaters
  • emotional wellbeing. 

Participants are given access to:

  • printed resources including recipes
  • a dedicated member of the Public Health team
  • the closed Facebook group
  • a quarterly newsletter.

It's free to be part of the HEY Awards and to access training. 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, Gold and Platinum Awards 

The HEY Award is offered at 4 different levels:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum.

Bronze Award settings will need to:

  • complete a HEY audit tool looking at their food and drink provision
  • identify action points beyond the duration of the awards
  • provide copies of sample menus
  • attend network meetings
  • write and implement a healthy early years policy
  • demonstrate the impact of training attended. 

Silver Award settings will need to:

  • demonstrate that they have been able to embed a healthy lifestyle approach and are successfully sustaining it
  • demonstrate how they support fussy eaters
  • reflect on their eating environment
  • 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
  • demonstrate that some members of the team have attended basic training, and the impact of the training.

Settings can only apply for a Silver Award one year after they have successfully 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 revisited their HEY policy and updated as needed
  • complete a case study showing how relevant research informs their practice
  • demonstrate that approximately 50% of staff have attended basic training and the impact of the training on their setting. 

Settings can only apply for a Gold award after successfully completing both Bronze and Silver awards.

Platinum Award settings will need to:

  • demonstrate an enhanced understandings of the importance of supporting emotional health and wellbeing in children and adults
  • commit to at least 2 healthy pledges for your setting, showing a committment to improving and supporting wellbeing of children, families and staff
  • be an active part of the HEY community
  • show that basic training has been completed by most members of the team and the impact this has. 

Healthy Early Years settings have access to free virtual and online training including:

  • 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 a range of training sessions and workshops. For more information email change4life@medway.gov.uk.


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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.