A passion for giving children the best start in life

August 28 2015

SALLY Jaeckle’s outstanding services to early years education will be rewarded this month when she formally receives her OBE from the Queen.

SALLY Jaeckle’s outstanding services to early years education will be rewarded this month when she formally receives her OBE from the Queen.

The Horfield resident says she was in total shock when she received the letter, informing her that she was to receive the honour.

“No-one was more surprised than me – it came as a complete shock and I had to keep pinching myself as I thought they must have made a mistake,” says Sally. “I wasn’t able to tell anyone when I first received the letter which was frustrating, but since then I have discovered that many friends and colleagues had contributed to this honour and had known for ages that it was a possibility – they were incredibly good at keeping it a secret.

“I will certainly be accepting this honour on their behalf.”

Sally’s work within the field of early years education was kick-started by her passion to give children the best possible start in life – particularly those facing challenges.

She says that following her degree in drama and education, she became increasingly fascinated by how young children think and learn.

“I realised that if young children have opportunities to be independent, to play and explore, think for themselves, solve problems and express their ideas in a rich, creative and caring environment,” explains Sally, “they are able to develop positive attitudes about learning and about themselves as learners which can last for life.”

Following a decade as an early years teacher and head teacher in the United States, Sally returned to the UK and completed a Master’s degree in cognitive psychology, which lead her to lecture in Early Childhood Studies. She was then employed as an early years advisor in Bristol, and later, nationally.

Between 2004 and 2010, Sally worked for the Department for Education, helping develop statutory guidance and resources for children in the early years foundation stage.

In this role, she also worked with local authorities across the country to raise awareness of the importance of high quality early education for young children.

In 2010, Sally returned to lead the Early Years Service in Bristol.

She has since worked alongside a team of “dedicated and talented” people, developing innovative, high quality opportunities for children, up to the age of five, and their families, which have gained national recognition.  

“It is a great privilege to have this opportunity to promote the value of early education on behalf of all the incredible people working in the early years sector, including childminders and staff in schools, early years settings and children’s centres.

“There is a wealth of international research that shows high quality early education, health and family support services that are locally based, easy to access and make sense to families, have the greatest impact on a child’s life.”

Sally will be receiving her OBE from the Queen on September 17.