Winners of 2021 Victorian Early Years Awards honoured at ceremony
Minister for Early Childhood Ingrid Stitt has announced the eight winners of seven categories in the 2021 Victorian Early Years Awards, held on Wednesday evening.
Now in its 16th year, the Victorian Early Years Awards program celebrates leadership, outstanding achievement, exceptional dedication and innovation in improving outcomes for children and their families.
“The early childhood sector has been incredibly resilient and dedicated in giving Victoria’s youngest children the best start to life despite the challenges of the pandemic over the past two years,” the Minister said.
Ms Stitt personally selected the winner of the prestigious Minister’s Award, praising Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre for the success of their Bush Kinder for Mental Health program, addressing the rise of anxiety and mental health issues in young children through play-based learning and reconnecting children with nature. Established in 2016, the core elements of the program are now embedded in everyday practice across their service to support the wellbeing and development of babies through to preschool children.
Winners were chosen from categories of:
- improving engagement in learning,
- supporting parents,
- building collaborative community partnerships,
- improving health and wellbeing,
- exemplary practice in early childhood education, leadership, and
- significant service improvement.
Each of the winners received a grant of $15,000 to be used for either professional development or to support their nominated early childhood initiative.
Early Childhood Teacher of the Year was awarded to Louise Bayley from Kalkallo Preschool for her work in promoting cultural understanding, equality and diversity as well as building strong partnerships with families and tailoring learning environments and supports to improve children’s and families’ health and wellbeing.
For the full list of winners, please see here.