G8 acknowledges Standout Educators in National Awards, noting challenges of 2020
The winners of the 2020 G8 Education National Standout Educator Awards have been announced, recognising outstanding practice, safety, community engagement, family engagement and sustainability.
Common to each award winner, the provider said, was a capacity to remain a great communicator and collaborator amongst some challenging conditions, while also retaining a sense of community.
In announcing the winners at a virtual Awards Ceremony last night G8 Education CEO Gary Carroll said 2020 “had challenged the sector while also revealing many examples of resilience and inspiration.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of our educators and support teams for the dedication they have shown during the worst days of the pandemic,” Mr Carroll said.
“They kept our children safe and the doors open, developed learning programs for children self-isolating, supporting families with practical help, and put their own worries aside to make sure our centres were happy places for children to be.”
Competition for the five winning positions was tough, he outlined, complimenting the calibre of the “sheer quality of the regional finalists and nominees,” who were selected from 10,000 educators, teachers and support teams across the country.
The successful winners are all “incredible educators” Mr Carroll said, who can “proudly claim the title of Standout Educator” for having “lived and breathed the G8 Education values and displaying a strength of character and purpose that had an impact not just amongst the children in their care but their families and the broader community.”
The G8 Education National Stand Out Educators of the Year are as follows:
In response to rising suicide levels in the community, early childhood teacher Kaylie White developed programs to build children’s self-worth and confidence, and engaged with Beyond Blue and the community to raise awareness and money for mental health services.
Gemma McKenzie, Community Kids Lake Albert
Gemma, the centre cook at Community Kids Lake Albert, has helped the children to learn the value of giving, and to develop strong relationships with others in the community.
Gemma regularly bakes cakes and cookies in cooking classes with the children, to be distributed to the homeless and vulnerable by volunteers from Carevan and Anglicare. Gemma has also arranged visits from local Elders, helping the children gain an understanding and respect for Indigenous culture and knowledge.
Rosalie Worth, Community Kids Broadbeach
‘Miss Rosie’ is described as the “heart and soul” of Community Kids Broadbeach, and is loved equally by children and their parents for her care and kindness, one of the reasons the centre is “always operating at 100 per cent capacity.”
The nomination for Rosie’s award outlined that “entire families have been taken under Miss Rosie’s wing and been launched on a lifelong journey of learning with warmth and kindness.”
Helen Zagolin, St Albans Main Road East Early Learning Centre
Centre Manager Helen was recognised for her commitment to safety as her service, located in a COVID-19 hotspot, navigated Melbourne’s second outbreak, implementing an effective safety and communications plan.
“She not only kept her children safe, but by tapping into the diverse backgrounds of her team members, the centre became a vital source of information communicated to the many migrant families in their home language,” the nomination noted.
Juliet Davis, Great Beginnings Secret Harbour
Juliet was recognised for the “countless little ways” in which she empowers children to make small behavioural changes which can go on to make a world of difference.
Children at Great Beginnings are “learning by doing,” helping to hang laundry on a child height line to dry in the sun and wind and repurposing boxes for craft. Her “practise what you preach” philosophy is helping to educate the next generation for a sustainable future.
The silver lining to such a challenging year, Mr Carroll said, was that there was a greater appreciation for the vital role of ECEC educators in both community wellbeing and economic prosperity.
“Over the course of 2020 we have built much closer relationships with our families and that is due to the efforts of our team members,” he said.
“We stepped up our communication efforts, faced down many challenges, and in doing so became stronger together. Team member engagement is at an all-time high and our people working in this incredible sector have felt more appreciated than ever.”
To learn more about G8 Education, please see here.