HESTA announces finalists in 2022 Early Childhood Education and Care Awards
The Sector > Workforce > Leadership > HESTA announces finalists in 2022 Early Childhood Education and Care Awards

HESTA announces finalists in 2022 Early Childhood Education and Care Awards

by Freya Lucas

September 07, 2022

Nine finalists have been announced in the lead up to the 2022 HESTA Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Awards.


Their achievements include having developed mental health programs to support children from traumatic backgrounds, leading an Aboriginal language activation program that has helped increase First Nations kindergarten enrolments, and supporting children to write a book on climate action that was shared with the Prime Minister.


Set against the backdrop of being frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, HESTA CEO Debby Blakey described the work undertaken by the finalists as impressive. 


“It takes enormous dedication, drive and heart to educate and look after our youngest Australians,” Ms Blakey said.


“These finalists are the very best at what they do and I’m so impressed by what they have been able to achieve in improving inclusivity in learning and giving children their very best start in life.”


“It’s a privilege to help share these inspiring stories from educators and carers around the country and recognise the people doing this important work.” 


Nine finalists in three distinct categories


An independent judging panel comprising sector representatives reviewed many outstanding nominations to select finalists across the Advancing Pedagogy and Practice, Individual Leadership and Outstanding Organisation categories. 


Goodstart Early Learning Glenfield Park and C&K Salisbury Community Kindergarten were both named as finalists in the Advancing Pedagogy and Practice category, alongside Sue Taylor from C&K Flagstone Community Kindergarten.


The Goodstart service has been recognised for integrating a ‘Trauma-Informed Mindfulness’ program into their practice, which improved the children’s abilities to regulate their emotions and engage in learning, while Lucy Murrell and Lizzie Rallings from C&K were recognised for their work in empowering children as active global citizens, encouraging them to find their voice on climate change and take action. They supported the children to create a climate action book and share their ideas with the Prime Minister.


Ms Taylor was nominated for her efforts to create a culturally safe and connected space for First Nations and other culturally diverse children and families, particularly through her delivery of the Yugambeh language activation program.


In the Individual Leadership space, Elizabeth Price from Gloucester Preschool & Early Years Learning Centre, Linda Price from Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre and Lisa Christopher from Haileybury Early Learning Centre were named as finalists. 


Elizabeth Price was recognised for her commitment to challenge and inspire the children in her care through natural learning environments. She has worked for ten years to build a service grounded in nature pedagogy that reflected the unique community and environment.


Linda Price attracted the panel’s attention for her leadership in combining early education theory and practice with data to create pedagogical change in the bushfire-affected Kinglake community, developing an award-winning bush kinder program, resulting in significant improvements to children’s mental health.


Ms Christopher was recognised for her caring and empathetic leadership and the lasting impact she has had on early childhood education for over 20 years, highlights of which included initiating a quality improvement process with her team to audit the centre’s anti-bias approach, ensuring each child and family feels included through a culture of respect and unity.


In the Outstanding Organisation space, Explore and Develop Penrith, Goodstart Early Learning Woongarrah and Salamander Child Care Centre are the 2022 finalists. 


Explore and Develop were recognised for their leadership and innovation to support the mental health and wellbeing of young children through their Key Resilience program. The Goodstart service was recognised for creating inclusive environments  for all children in its care, using inclusion mapping to paint a holistic picture of each child and families needs. 


Salamander Child Care Centre was recognised for its innovative allied health partnership, which has provided children in their care with much-needed access to occupational therapy and has helped the centre become a more inclusive learning environment.


Long-time Awards supporter ME Bank has donated $30,000 in prize money, which will be split equally between the winners, to be used for professional or team development or to improve workplace services or processes. 


ME Bank CEO Martine Jager said the finalists are “doing an exceptional job in guiding Australia’s future”.


The three winners will be announced at an Awards dinner in Canberra on 7 October 2022.


For more information on the Awards, visit hestaawards.com.au

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