South Hams educators from Venture Outdoor Kindergarten in Hope Cove have been recognised with a Silver Award for Early Years Team of the Year in the Pearson National Teaching Awards.

Selected from thousands of nominees, the win highlights the remarkable impact they have on shaping the lives of the young people in their care.

Venture Kindergarten started in 2018 with Jenny Papenfus and Zoe Purkis along with a handful of children, each with a backpack, exploring the outdoors in South Devon.

These adventures initiated the development of a unique ethos and teaching method, fully focused on the well-being of children.

It is the adults and their interaction with the children that makes Venture exceptional.

The team have developed a way of ‘being’ with children.

Starting with a calm environment where children and their ideas come first and where everyone is treated with reverence, compassion, trust, and respect. Venture is warm and welcoming and with a huge emphasis on developing meaningful relationships. At Venture, the team prioritises preparation for life, building self-confidence and independence, and, above all else, mental health.

Michael Morpurgo, author, former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, says: “The work and devotion of all of those who play a role in educating young people is phenomenal. Not only do they play a vital role in shaping minds inside the classroom, often they continue to encourage, support, motivate and inspire beyond. That’s why it is important for us to take a moment on this National Thank a Teacher Day to recognise their efforts.

“I am also thrilled to be able to congratulate this year’s Silver Award winners and recognise the amazing contributions and commitment they have shown is shaping the lives of the next generation.”

Sharon Hague, Managing Director of School Assessment and Qualifications at Pearson UK, says:

“We are delighted to recognise this year’s Silver Award winners on their outstanding achievements. The contributions they make and the impact they have on young people’s lives every day is truly exceptional. We are extremely proud to support the National Teaching Awards and mark the achievements of all of our very worthy winners.”