ECT Lien Chai honoured in national awards for play-based push
The Sector > Jobs News > ECT Lien Chai honoured in national awards for play-based push

ECT Lien Chai honoured in national awards for play-based push

by Freya Lucas

September 15, 2023

Lien Chai, an early childhood teacher (ECT) was named one of 12 outstanding teachers in Australia at the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards.


Mrs Chai was honoured on stage at Parliament House in Canberra for her outstanding leadership, commitment to student success, and dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive school community that make her an exemplary educator. 


As well as being an ECT, Mrs Chai is an Assistant Principal at Lansvale Public School. Her award was specifically for developing a play-based curriculum at the school, where 94 per cent of students are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.


The curriculum was created to support vocabulary acquisition and numeracy skills, and she worked closely with community language teachers to explicitly teach the children words in their home language, ensuring that families reinforced the learning in the home environment.


The program recognised the deficit in English vocabulary knowledge that low income and non-English speaking families may have, and as such, Mrs Chai focused on teaching Tier 2 (sophisticated language) words through play-based experiences.


“As a result of Lien’s work, the children have become more word-conscious learners and now use more complex vocabulary to communicate,” her award citation notes.


In numeracy, Mrs Chai shared research with her colleagues, planned professional learning sessions and demonstrated lessons to build math skills through play.


“This is clearly evidenced in data, with the 2021 Kindergarten Best Start results showing a jump from 36 per cent of the cohort able to produce a rote count from 10, up to 75 per cent in 2022,” the citation added.


As well as receiving the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award, Mrs Chai has recently been awarded a Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching for her pivotal role in Lansvale Public School being twice awarded an ‘Excellent’ rating by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority – the first NSW Department of Education preschool to receive this rating and the only one to receive it twice.


Lansvale Public School principal Laura Karam said Mrs Chai’s award brought pride and honour to the school community.


The Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards were launched in 2016 to recognise and reward 12 outstanding teachers and school leaders across Australia, with 10 Early Career Teaching Scholarships for teachers with less than five years in the profession introduced in 2022.


Learn more about the awards here

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