Healthy Early Years London (HEYL)
Healthy Early Years London (HEYL) is an awards scheme funded by the Mayor of London for all early years settings and childminders. It supports and recognises achievements in child health, wellbeing and development.
The HEYL award builds on from the success of Healthy Schools London and compliments the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage Framework adding to the focus on children, families and staff health and wellbeing.
The award is focused on a whole-setting approach by involving children, parents and the local community to create a healthy learning environment across 12 themes. These are:
- Healthy eating
- Breastfeeding and starting solid foods
- Oral health
- Physical activity
- Physical development
- Reducing sedentary behaviour
- Speech language and communication
- Early cognitive development
- Social and emotional wellbeing
- Parenting and home learning
- Home safety
- Accident prevention and reducing injuries
Levels and aims
There are four levels of the HEYL award: First Steps, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each step has standards and criteria to be met.
Since the launch of HEYL in October 2018, 32 London boroughs have become involved and over 1,568 settings have registered to take part.
The aim is to increase the number of settings taking part locally. This will positively have an impact on the health and wellbeing of children under five years by:
- Reinforcing healthy habits such as healthy eating, oral health and daily physical activity
- Improving social and emotional wellbeing by increasing the early years and childcare uptake of the HEYL project
Importance of early years settings
The HEYL recognises that: 'Getting a good start in life, building emotional resilience and getting maximum benefit from education are the most important markers for good health and wellbeing throughout life. Early years settings can lay the foundations for lifelong health and wellbeing as they help children prepare for school'.
As stated in the HEYL evaluation report 2019, a considerable number of children are spending time in childcare services with 13,262 registered early years providers offering 295,146 places. This shows that implanting the HEYL award programme has the potential to have an impact on the health of children in London.
HEYL is recognised by Ofsted. It is based on three Ofsted judgments and supports the Mayor of London’s upcoming ‘Better Health for Londoners Health Inequalities Strategy’.
The strategy aims to tackle health inequalities across the city at the earliest opportunity in a child’s life.
Find out more about Healthy Early Years London.
Updated: 30 January 2023