2023 VEYA winners announced
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2023 VEYA winners announced

by Freya Lucas

November 17, 2023

The winners of the 2023 Victorian Early Years Awards (VEYA) have been announced, celebrating “the very best early childhood organisations and professionals” for the work they do setting children up for success at school and beyond.


Victoria’s Minister for Children Lizzie Blandthorn congratulated the 10 winners and 16 finalists at an awards ceremony in Melbourne. The ceremony was an extra special occasion because Aboriginal inclusion and perspectives in making early childhood services accessible to Koorie children and families were recognised for the first time through a new award commemorating the life and legacy of Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri woman Aunty Rose Bamblett.


The Yirram Burron and Perridak Burron Early Learning services in Ballarat won the inaugural Aunty Rose Bamblett Koorie Early Years Legacy Award for their educational programs based on Aboriginal perspectives that enhance children’s love for land and community.


2023 also saw the first-ever Educator of the Year Award, which went to Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre Director Sue Bullock for using data, evidence-based practices and empathetic leadership to create a better quality learning and working environment for students and staff.


The Early Childhood Teacher of the Year award was presented to Glen Education Glover Street Kindergarten’s Rachael Gemmill for leading her team to exceed in all seven areas of the National Quality Standard for education and care, and for using evidence-based strategies to support children’s wellbeing.


The Minister’s Award was presented to the Northern Schools Early Years Cluster, a community-based not-for-profit organisation that manages 15 kindergarten services in multicultural communities experiencing high levels of disadvantage across the municipalities of Merri-bek, Hume, Melbourne and Macedon Ranges.


By operating as a kindergarten to Year 6 model (K-6), the Northern Schools Early Years Cluster was recognised for helping children to develop a sense of belonging, connectedness and confidence during their transition from kindergarten to schools.


“Congratulations to every winner and finalist for their outstanding contributions to children’s learning and development – your brilliant work is what makes us the Education State,” Ms Blandthorn said. 


Awards were also announced in six other categories (full list shown below) with award winners receiving $15,000 to support their professional development or to further develop their program or initiative. To find out more about this year’s winners, please see here. 


Winners of the 2023 Victorian Early Years Awards


Category 1: Improving Access and Participation in Early Learning
Fast-tracking 15 hours of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten for children at risk, Northern Schools Early Years Cluster


Category 2: Supporting Parents to Build their Capacity and Confidence
The HoPES team strengthening the Early Years, Tweddle Child & Family Health Service


Category 3: Creating Collaborative Community Partnerships
Darebin Best Start Aboriginal Reference Group, Darebin City Council


Category 4: Promoting Children’s Health and Wellbeing
By Five Paediatric Project, By Five


Category 5: Continuity of Early Learning
Greater Dandenong Early Learning Alliance, Keysborough Primary School


Category 6: Early Childhood Teacher of the Year
Rachael Gemmill, Glen Education Glover Street Kindergarten


Category 7: The Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler Excellence in Educational Leadership Award Early Childhood Education Team, Early Childhood Management Services Inc.


Category 8: The Aunty Rose Bamblett Koorie Early Years Legacy Award
Yirram Burron and Perridak Burron Early Learning, Ballarat & District Aboriginal Co-operative


Category 9: Educator of the Year
Sue Bullock, Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre


Minister’s Award: The Northern Schools Early Years K-6 model, Northern Schools Early Years Cluster Inc.

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