Celebrating The Victorians Who Inspire Our Children

A Carrum Downs kinder teacher making sure kids with additional needs get the support they need and a Dandenong playgroup preparing kids for kinder are among the winners of the 13th annual Victorian Early Years Awards.

The exceptional contributions of individuals and organisations improving the health, learning, development and wellbeing of young children were celebrated at the awards event the National Gallery of Victoria overnight.

Nicole Bechaz from Banyan Fields Kindergarten was named Early Childhood Teacher of the Year for her work leading a team that supports more than 150 children, many with additional needs.

The inaugural Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler Excellence in Educational Leadership Award was introduced to recognise the late Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler for her significant contributions to the early childhood education and care field.

This was awarded to Community Kinders Plus for its leading learning and teaching practices that support children experiencing disadvantage at services across Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos congratulated the winners and presented the Minister’s Award to the Foundation House Hume Refugee Early Years Cluster, led by the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc.

This is a collaborative project between Foundation House, Hume City Council and ten diverse early years centres and agencies to improve the inclusion of families and children of refugee backgrounds in early years services.

Other winners include:

  • Improving Access & Participation in Early Learning Award: Finding Your Voice, Debney Meadows Primary
  • Supporting Parents to Build their Capacity and Confidence Award: Dandy Pals Playgroup – Step Into Kinder Program, Dandenong Primary School
  • Creating Collaborative Community Partnerships Award Community Connect, Traralgon East Comm Centre
  • Promoting Children’s Health and Wellbeing Award: Kingsbury Play Map Project, City of Darebin
  • Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Award: Nicole Bechaz, Banyan Fields Kindergarten
  • Minister’s Award: Foundation House Hume Refugee Early Years Cluster 2017/2018, led by Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture IncThe Victorian Early Years Awards recognise the crucial work of early years professionals who make a difference in the lives of Victorian children and families.

For more details on the 2018 Victorian Early Years Awards, visit www.education.vic.gov.au/veya.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos

“The Victorian Early Years Awards celebrate the incredible work early years professionals do to make sure Victoria’s children have the best start in life.”

“It’s so inspirational to hear about the difference and lasting impact these individuals and organisations have all had on children during the vital early years.”