September is a month for ECEC to shine
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > September is a month for ECEC to shine, and nowhere is brighter than Victoria 

September is a month for ECEC to shine, and nowhere is brighter than Victoria 

by Freya Lucas

September 06, 2023

September is a month when early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals are celebrated, starting with Early Childhood Educators Day (6 September) highlighting the enormous value that those who work in ECEC contribute to our communities. 


Before continuing to read this piece, please be aware that, with the permission of family, this article includes the names and images of Aboriginal people who have passed.


In Victoria, September is also a month of recognition, with the finalists of the Victorian Early Years Awards (VEYA) announced today, showcasing the breadth in outstanding leadership, achievements and exceptional contribution across the state. 


In 2023, two new VEYA categories were announced. The first new category was developed to recognise the importance of Aboriginal inclusion and perspectives in ensuring all services are accessible to Koorie children and families, commemorating the work and legacy of Aunty Rose Bamblett (dec). 


The second new category recognises that educators make a vital contribution to early childhood services and children. This award is an accolade presented to an early childhood educator who has demonstrated exemplary practice in early childhood education and care. It recognises the contribution that outstanding early years education can make in preparing young children effectively for school.


Overall the 9 award categories focus on improving engagement in learning, supporting parents, building collaborative community partnerships, improving child health and wellbeing, exemplary practice in early childhood education, leadership and significant improvement on learning and teaching practices.


Winners are recognised as the best in Victoria for their category and go on to develop and share their inspiring work with their communities. Winners of each category will receive a grant of $15,000 for professional development or to support their nominated initiative. The finalists in each category are also eligible to win the prestigious Minister’s Award, selected by the Minister for Early Childhood and Pre-Prep.


Finalists include:


Wilda Tausif, Glen Chelsea Kindergarten – Educator of the Year Award finalist 


Inspirational educator and children’s author, Wida Tausif incorporates an understanding of cultural diversity in her sessions to illustrate the ways in which people are unique. With a focus on social-emotional development, she ensures all children in her care feel a sense of self-worth and pride. 


Town & Country Children’s Centre – Aunty Rose Bamblett Koorie Early Years Legacy Award finalist 


Town & Country Children’s Centre has embedded meaningful engagement of Aboriginal Culture into their curriculum and core philosophy, whereby Koorie children, families and community feel welcomed and culturally safe.


The Herd Intergenerational Learning Centre in partnership with Uniting AgeWell – Creating Collaborative Community Partnerships Award finalist


The Herd Intergenerational Learning Centre is Australia’s first shared-roof intergenerational learning environment where a long day care centre resides under the same roof as a residential aged care home. A genuine intergenerational community has been established at the centre, where children and their ‘grandfriends’ interact through collaborative, place-based projects that foster rich engagement.


Gowrie Carlton’s Learning Precinct Partnership – Gowrie Victoria in partnership with Carlton Primary School, Our Place and City of Melbourne – Continuity of Early Learning Award finalist


The Carlton Learning Precinct site is located within a pocket of significant disadvantage with most school families being migrants who experience a range of barriers to education. The program focuses on well-being, learning, and childhood development. Community activities and programs, such as ‘Leap into Learning’, guide children and families to transition from kindergarten to school.


Support to help Victoria’s ECEC professionals to thrive


With so much support for education and care professionals in Victoria, there’s never been a better time to consider furthering your career in a state which values the early years so highly. 


For those who are already employed in Victoria’s ECEC sector, there are a range of initiatives to support early years professionals grow in their career, including: 


  • the End-to-End Workplace Supports Program, which provides opportunities for coaching and communities of practice for teachers in the first two years of their careers
  • mentors and financial grants to support Provisionally Registered Teachers to achieve full registration
  • the Three-Year-Old teaching toolkit to support the planning and delivery of funded Three-Year-Old kindergarten programs
  • Coaching for educators and teachers returning to the sector – Up to 20 hours of coaching is now available to educators and early childhood teachers returning to the sector or joining the Victorian early childhood workforce after working in this field interstate or overseas.
  • Coach and Mentor Training Program offers an opportunity for experienced teachers and educators to develop coaching and mentoring skills
  • Beginning Teacher Conferences for teachers in the beginning stages of their careers
  • Early Years Learning Networks offer opportunities for local collaboration and professional connection for early childhood teachers and educational leaders
  • Early Learning Leadership Forums are delivered twice a year in each Department area, to bring together early childhood leaders to network and connect, engage with the department, and build shared understanding of early childhood reforms


Education and care professionals outside Victoria, or those looking to relocate within the state, can access financial incentives to take up a role in Victoria.


Financial incentives are available for educators ($9,000 plus relocation support to encourage qualified educators to take positions in services delivering funded Three-Year-Old Kindergarten), along with recruitment agency support for services to fill educator vacancies in selected services – educators can connect with agencies from the Early Childhood jobs website to access these positions.


To read the program eligibility requirements for educator incentives, see here.


For First Nations educators there are Early Childhood Aboriginal Pathways scholarships for those studying a Certificate III or Diploma in ECEC or an approved bachelor qualification, and for other education and care professionals there are a range of Early Childhood Scholarships, traineeship programs, and the popular Free TAFE initiative. 


To learn more visit

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