Big Fat Smile celebrates as 7 educators are awarded scholarships in NSW
Seven early childhood educators from the Big Fat Smile network have been awarded scholarships in the 2022-23 Aboriginal Early Childhood Education Scholarship and the Early Childhood Education Scholarship Program by the NSW Department of Education.
The scholarship of up to $20,000 is offered to those commencing or completing a bachelor-level early childhood teaching degree. One recipient, Josephine Brooks of Warrawong Community Preschool, said the scholarship will be a great financial help by reducing her HECS debt upon completion of her studies.
“[The scholarship] will benefit my career by allowing me to expand my existing knowledge of early learning and care. I am very passionate about my job, so this is a very exciting opportunity!”
Big Fat Smile’s Scholarship recipients for 2022-23 are:
- Abbey McKenna, Reynolds Street Community Preschool 0-5
- Emilie Blouin, Kiama Downs Community Preschool
- Hayley Penrose, Wollongong City Community Preschool
- Josephine Brooks, Warrawong Community Preschool 0-5
- Katherine Seers, Bundanoon District Community Preschool
- Marnie Van Loon, Cobblers Hill Community Preschool 0-5
- Patrice Lay, Warrawong Community Preschool 0-5.
Ms Lay encouraged other eligible educators to apply, and to challenge themselves by taking on further study.
“I say go for it! Even if you don’t feel academically inclined, there is so much flexibility and support available. Universities may also recognise prior learning which takes significant time off your course.”
Ms Van Loon was surprised with flowers and a card from her colleagues at Cobblers Hill, and said she was “amazed by all the fuss”.
Big Fat Smile CEO Jenni Hutchins extended her congratulations to all the scholarship recipients, saying the outcome was “fabulous for our people, our organisation, the individual staff members but mostly, our children”.
“We strive to build on our strategy for professional learning to foster a culture of life-long learning. These scholarships assist with increasing the number of Early Childhood Teachers in the sector and providing opportunities for our people,” she added.
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