Belle Tutaev Lifetime Achievement Award

I feel so honoured to be shortlisted for this impressive award! Belle Tutaev was incredibly passionate about the importance of learning opportunities for young children. She worked tirelessly to support families and carers to achieve this.

In memory of: Belle Tutaev, founder, Pre-school Learning Alliance

1929 – 2019

Born in New York and raised in Jamaica, Belle Tutaev enjoyed a childhood that was “idyllic”.

In 1961 Belle wrote a letter to The Guardian titled “Do-It-Yourself Nurseries”. She asked the government for more facilities for children under five and encouraged other parents to set up their own provision where possible.

The response from other parents was overwhelming. Many were having similar problems with finding nursery spaces and had also set up their own groups in response. Within a year, Belle had organised the first Annual General Meeting of what was then known as the Pre-school Playgroups Association, having amassed 150 members.

Belle was the first President of the charity, a role she held until 1966, after which she spent two years retraining as a teacher. She then became headteacher at a nursery school in Bristol.

In 1982, HRH the Princess of Wales became the organisation’s first patron as it continued to grow. In 2011, the Pre-school Learning Alliance, as the organisation was now known, published 50 Favourite Stories and Rhymes in collaboration with Ladybird books to mark its 50th birthday. The following year, Belle was awarded an OBE for services to children and families.