Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gecko Awards 2013

In 2011 I introduced an award for all those bloggers out there that inspired me and who I felt were leading lights in the Early Childhood Education field. I named them the GECKO Awards.

Want to know what GECKO stands for? It's Global Early Childhood and Kinder Osmosis. I planned to present them annually, but I totally forgot about it in 2012. So I have decided now is as good a time as any to resurrect them.

Here's a tip too. Go have a read of my original post to see who received the first batch of awards.

Now I will not discriminate. Just because someone received an award last time does not mean they are not eligible again. This time however, I have decided to create a few categories. Unlike other awards though, there isn't any voting and it is not a popularity contest. Nor is there a limit to the number of recipients in any category.

So let's get the ball rolling......

New Blogger/Site: Includes both new blogs/sites as well as more established ones that have recently been discovered by me.

Let Toys Be Toys - For Girls and Boys: This site is merely a petition against the gender stereotyping of toys for sale in the UK and Ireland. All their activity occurs on their Facebook page.

Advocating on Behalf of Males in ECE: Organisations or people who promote the benefits of increasing the number of males in the EC field.

Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning: These ladies do just about everything to help those within the EC field, but Donna in particular goes well out of her way to support Male EC professionals and promote men in the field.

Child Forum: A New Zealand site that does so much for the EC sector worldwide and part of that is the call for more men in EC through research. Sarah Farquhar in particular is a strong proponent of the Males in EC cause.

MenTeach: This site, while US-based, is relevant anywhere in the world as it has links, stories and research from all corners of the globe.

Promoting Play:  We all think about and 'do' play, but this  is for those who are out there spreading the word to the world.

Let the Children Play: You will be hard pressed to find anyone who does more to promote the benefits of play for children in a blog than Jennifer Kable. Not only does Jenny share plenty of her own tremendous experiences she is also a firm believer in spreading the word of the good work that others do.

Marc Armitage: A playwork consultant from England, Marc works tirelessly for the betterment of children the world over. He is passionate about the benefits of play to children's overall development and wellbeing.

Play England: A site dedicated to advocating for the rights of children to play. They do this by providing training, access to relevant research literature, and campaigning decisions-makers.

Teacher Tom: Tom Hobson is much better known by his alter ego. What else he is known for is the hands on, engaging, and interesting play the children at his cooperative centre are involved in every day. There is risk-taking, problem-solving, negotiation, explorations, creativity, and so much more going on.

Naturally Nature: For those who go above and beyond to ensure everyone is aware of the awesomeness of exploring nature and natural materials.

Learning For Life: Kierna Corr proudly promotes the benefits for children to explore the outdoors no matter the weather. The Quote on the site's header says it all - "Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, and snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."

I'm a Teacher, Get Me OUTSIDE Here!: Juliet does more than just blog about nature, she provides first hand accounts of her experiences working with the Forest Schools of Northern Europe and seeks to educate people on ways to create more natural playspaces and the benefits and children engaging with nature during play. Just to keep you on your toes, Juliet's Facebook page goes by the title Creative STAR Learning Company.

There for Parents: This is for those who specifically help and encourage parents.

Regarding Baby: Lisa Sunbury offers advice, support and a wealth of information for parents, particularly in regards to babies and young toddlers. Her words of wisdom are second to none.

Aunt Annie's Childcare: 'Aunt Annie' is a source of wisdom and advice for anyone with children in their lives from parents to early childhood professionals. Even policy makers would do well to take heed, but perhaps that is wishing for too much.

Helping Us Better Ourselves: We all need to continue our learning journey and these people/organisations help us do just that.

Inspired EC: An Australian consultancy service who, apart from other things deliver workshops, host conferences, provide networking and support group opportunities, and all by drawing on the best internationally renowned EC trainers. Natashja Treveton, Nicole Sheehan, and Niki Buchan are local inspirations on a global scale.

Claire Warden: Claire is a world renowned advocate for children and those working with them. She strongly supports engaging with the environment, providing challenging experiences and believing in the capabilities of all children. If you are lucky enough to hear Claire speak you will be inspired and energised for a long time to come.

Anyone I May Have Missed: For those who don't comfortably sit in any of the above categories.

Child's Play Music: Most people are aware of the joys music brings to young children's lives, but Alec takes it one step further and creates his own instruments out of discarded materials. The ultimate upcylcling.

Dorothy Waide Centre for Early Learning: This is actually a centre-based service in the township of Griffith, NSW, Australia. The reason it is included here is that it is a striking example of excellence and highest quality care and education of young children. Their outdoor play spaces are full of natural wonders that children will never tire of exploring while the indoor environments are equally inspiring, challenging, thought provoking and inviting. I could write a whole post on this marvellous service and may actually have to some day. For now we'll just settle for awarding them a GECKO.

Well that's it, but I must add that there are countless other individuals, groups, and organisations out thee that do great things for children, their families, the community and society in general. If you don't find yourself or your team on this list please don't be disappointed or offended. it is a very difficult task and I couldn't possibly name everyone who deserves it.

If you like however, you could include your own suggestions of sites that inspire and inform you in the comments.


  1. Thanks again Greg & am delighted to be in such great company.

  2. Thanks Greg

    I think a GECKO award is a wonderful idea and I feel privileged that my blog is a recipient. Long live outdoor play and learning. And may we see many more males in EC education.

    Best wishes

  3. Great list, Greg. Thanks for including me. I'm honored!

  4. thanks Greg - honoured to be in such company : ) DWC Centre