On May 13th I was invited to share a keynote presentation at the Croydon Early Years Conference, organised by the Croydon Childminding Association.(CCMA)
The sold-out event was attended by childminders and early years practitioners from Croydon, and neighbouring London Boroughs. The theme of the event was “Closing the Gap”.
Author and president of PACEY ( Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years) Penny Tassoni was compelling and absolutely spot on in her overview of the challenges and priorities in early years education echoing the content of her brilliant book Reducing Educational Disadvantage: A Strategic Approach in the Early Years
The event was a focused and informative day with fun and games along the way but overall it was about professional development and understanding. I could not stop thinking that every person attending had chosen to do so voluntarily- on a Saturday. That the committee of childminders who had organised the day and put in so much effort across the year to make it happen, had again given up their time and were driven by pure commitment and dedication for the young children of Croydon and the professional status of the borough’s childminders.
As part of my presentation I dressed up as a superhero – we called my alter-ego Captain Croydon on the day. Just a bit of fun as we explored ideas to support play and early interaction (and who doesn’t enjoy dressing up?) Kim Esnard committee member of the CCMA ( and Childcare Coach) sent me a picture of a book she’d bought today – there really is a Captain Croydon!
The thing is…. Croydon actually has real-life superheroes. It was all I could think about throughout the day, and since. This huge, powerful and absolutely essential professional gathering was led by the volunteers of the CCMA. I hope to continue to work with the association and the childminders of Croydon- and express thanks, appreciation and respect to chair Joana Smith BEM and the CCMA Committee. (The true superheroes of Croydon) I’ve been to hundreds of professional development events and conferences- none have left such an impression.
The real superheroes of Croydon
“The Croydon Childminding Association was established formally in March 1995 and was created in order to support childminders in establishing and maintaining a successful service to parents and carers. The CCMA aims to promote Childminding as a positive childcare option amongst the many choices that are available. It is run by volunteer childminders in their spare time.”