Bright Horizons Early Childhood Director is awarded MBE

Caroline Wright, Early Childhood Director at Bright Horizons UK, was among those named on the King’s New Year’s Honours 2024 list, marking the extraordinary contributions and service of people across the United Kingdom.

Caroline has been awarded an MBE for services to Early Childhood Education.

Responding to the accolade, Caroline said: "I feel truly honoured to receive this award; it has been my absolute pleasure to work with and for children for the past 45 years, and I truly can’t imagine that any other career would have been as rewarding or as exciting as this. I have loved every moment and can honestly say that it has been a privilege to be involved in the lives of so many children, practitioners and families. I have been very lucky to have had strong mentors and guides in my professional career and I hope that I have been able to provide some inspiration to other Early Childhood practitioners, so that they too can make a positive difference to the lives of our children.”

Unlocking Children’s Potential Through Nurture

Caroline started her journey in Early Years as a Practitioner. She gained an NNEB qualification when she left school and started work in a children’s home in Birmingham before she took up a role as a play therapist working with children in hospital. Caroline then worked in a local school as a Welfare Assistant before working in pre-school and after-school clubs. She even drove a double-decker bus through rural Essex, providing preschool opportunities to children in rural communities. Caroline went on to achieve a master’s degree, as a mature student, and successfully progressed further within the industry gaining experience in leadership roles over the years in both the public and private sectors. She has helped to develop the initial Early Years teacher training programme at the National College of Teaching and Leadership and held notable roles at University Campus Doncaster and Anglia Ruskin University, lecturing on Early Childhood Studies programmes.

In 2020 Caroline joined Bright Horizons with the responsibility for guiding best practice to enable practitioners to develop children’s full potential through the Nurture Approach.

Caroline explained: “As early childhood practitioners and researchers, we reflect on our experience of young children’s learning needs, parents’ aspirations for their children, and how we can best contribute to the open-ended notion of ‘school readiness,’ whilst remaining compliant with the conditions of registration under EYFS.”

The Bright Horizons Nurture Approach encompasses the bespoke Bright Beginnings Curriculum, designed by Caroline in 2020. The curriculum is based on extensive pedagogical theory and the latest neuroscientific research. It recognises the individual needs of each child, and focuses on promoting confidence, wellbeing and a genuine love for learning. The Nurture Approach and Bright Beginnings Curriculum is based on the premise that emotional resilience is just as important as other early childhood foundational skills, such as counting and literacy. It also focuses on the significance of the adult role as educators, and the importance of secure attachments between children, families and the key person.

“What matters most, is to fill each day with the simple joys of childhood, and that’s made possible by our family of dedicated, passionate professionals. Warm, welcoming people, collectively charged with the care of 12,000 children every day. Real people with HEART who believe in Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Respect, and most of all building that bond of Teamwork with every child and every parent. For our experienced and valued team, we offer extensive training to help them grow, thrive and build a career for life."

“I have been working in quality improvement within Early Years for around 35 years and I really do believe that everyone involved always tries to do the absolute best that they can. The most important thing is that children are always at the centre of everything we do.”

Ros Marshall, Managing Director, International, at Bright Horizons, said:

“Caroline always places the needs of the child at the centre of her life’s work, and she has trained and inspired dozens of early years teachers over the last 27 years. Education and the importance of early years education is a service for society in the short, medium and long-term, and Caroline is an exceptional leader, who always generously seeks to help others to develop their skills and knowledge so they can provide the very best teaching and care for young children. We are truly delighted and overjoyed that her dedication to early years care and education has been rewarded with this most prestigious award.”