2 KU professionals named in HESTA Awards
The Sector > Provider > General News > KU takes ‘great pride’ in having 2 HESTA ECECA finalists in 2023 awards

KU takes ‘great pride’ in having 2 HESTA ECECA finalists in 2023 awards

by Freya Lucas

September 18, 2023

Rebecca Harrison from KU’s Autism Support Team and KU Craigieburn Children’s Centre have both been named as finalists in the 2023 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards, alongside other exceptional organisations and professionals from the early childhood sector across Australia, a source of ‘great pride’ for the provider.


Ms Harrison has been named a finalist in the Individual Leadership category for her work in supporting early childhood educators to facilitate the equitable inclusion of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, while KU Craigieburn has been named a finalist in the Outstanding Service category for embracing cultural diversity, understanding and bilingualism, and helping to foster a sense of belonging for children.


Rebecca Harrison


Ms Harrison is an Autism Support Facilitator and Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) therapist recognised for her leadership in the education and care of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


She has been central to supporting and implementing a Guided Practice Model to assist early childhood educators in facilitating the equitable inclusion of children diagnosed with ASD.


In 2022, Ms Harrison began to lead a team of ESDM therapists/Autism Support Facilitators in implementing this model. The team has supported 335 children with ASD across 76 services.


Her leadership of the team has been critical in changing educator mindsets, increasing their capacity and reducing stress. Due to its success, the model is now being offered to all educators working for KU Children’s Services.


She intends to undertake further professional development in inclusive education supporting neurodiverse children in ECE settings and training in mentoring.


KU Craigieburn Children’s Centre


KU Craigieburn has been recognised for its dedication to embracing cultural diversity, helping foster a sense of belonging for children, bilingualism, and cultural understanding.


They have worked to address language barriers and increase the participation of refugee families, incorporating home languages into the program. The service also worked with a local Aboriginal Elder, Aunty Jo, to learn about Indigenous culture and include new perspectives into children’s programs.


KU Craigieburn Children’s Centre recognises the importance of inclusion and support for children with different needs. They have joined forces with organisations to overcome language barriers, creating accessible materials.


Upon recognising a lack of participation in community health checks, leading to undisclosed learning support needs, the service collaborated with maternal and child health services to implement comprehensive health assessments, including free dental checks, to foster inclusivity and provide timely support for children.


KU Craigieburn Children’s Centre aims to provide further professional development for the team. They want to learn about different ways of educating children and how to include all children, regardless of their background.


KU has “proudly extended its heartfelt congratulations to Rebecca Harrison and KU Craigieburn Children’s Centre for their outstanding achievements as finalists in the 2023 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards”, wishing them the best of luck.


Winners of the awards will be announced on Friday 6 October 2023.

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