Welwyn Hatfield MP and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has joined in recognition of the work of early years educators.

#ThumbsUpForEarlyYears aims to highlight the work of childcare staff across the country.

Two of the UKs largest providers- Busy Bees and Bright Horizons- are leading the social media event alongside a host of other nursery chains and independent sites, as well as the National Day Nurseries Association.

To celebrate the efforts of early years educators, who have been working throughout the pandemic to support families, the industry is asking parents, children, support staff and practitioners to share a photo of themselves in support of the initiative, using the hashtag #ThumbsUpForEarlyYears today.

Speaking on behalf of the group of early years providers, the group’s spokesperson, said “Our sector is one that relies on our people, we know that every experience a child has can be enhanced by a caring, knowledgeable practitioner.

“As individual organisations we’ve celebrated these ‘magic moments’ and thanked our colleagues for always prioritising the children throughout the year. #ThumbsUpForEarlyYears provides us with a platform to come together and share our awe, thanks and heartfelt appreciation for all those working in early years whether they are a key person, a Nursery Manager or an apprentice.

“We hope that by sharing images alongside #ThumbsUpForEarlyYears, we will highlight just how many wonderful individuals work tirelessly to ensure children cared for by practitioners across our sector receive the very best start in life.”

Local MP Grant Shapps, who posted his own thumbs up on social media this morning, said: “I recognise the vital work that people in the early years sector do for the development of our kids.

“It’s been tough for them during this pandemic to adapt to new ways of working.

“In January I had the pleasure of being taken for a virtual tour of a Busy Bees nursery in Welwyn Garden City. I saw the dedication that those working in childcare have to the children, even when times are tough. In that instance, they adapted to the challenges of COVID by pioneering the use of digital apps to upload pictures and information about the kids during the day for parents to track their progress.

“It’s a great thing that lots of childcare providers have come together for a day of recognition, and I’m joining in that recognition today.”