The beautiful National Gallery of Victoria was buzzing last month, when on Tuesday 22 October the 14th annual Victorian Early Years Awards once again recognised the life-changing support early childhood services give to Victorian children and families.
The awards celebrate the outstanding work of individuals and organisations from across the state's early childhood education sector.
This year, seven organisations and one early childhood teacher were recognised from a strong field of 20 finalists. A number of programs that have made a difference in the local community were recognised, including a literacy program which helps newly-arrived migrant families to learn to read together and a preschool which has incorporated First People's perspectives in its curriculum.
Pope Road Kindergarten teacher, Leanne Mits, won the prestigious Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Award.
Leanne is passionate about early learning and believes in connecting children with the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She led development of the kindergarten's Reconciliation Action Plan and to further enrich her teaching practice, Leanne also began a Masters in Early Childhood Education this year. Leanne said she was humbled and honoured by the award.
This year also saw the launch of the new Continuity of Early Learning Award which recognises the importance of transitions between kindergarten and school.The inaugural award was given to the Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership. The Partnership's BY FIVE: Wimmera Southern Mallee Early Years Project is a collaboration across 15 regional towns. It seeks to improve outcomes for children up to five-years-old, by streamlining enrolments, creating better links between services, and upskilling local community members.
Congratulations to all finalists and award recipients on their success.
Improving Access and Participation in Early Learning Award
Word Play, Moreland City Libraries
Supporting Parents Through Evidence-based Practice Award
Sound Partnerships: Promoting partnerships with families for the teaching of phonics, Rosanna Golf Links Primary School
Creating Collaborative Community Partnerships Award
Promoting Children's Health and Wellbeing Award
We Love Stories, Banyule Community Health
Continuity of Early Learning Award
BY FIVE: Wimmera Southern Mallee Early Years Project, Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnership
Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Award
Leanne Mits, Pope Road Kindergarten, Blackburn
The Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler Excellence in Educational Leadership Award
The Geelong College
Walking From One Room Into Another Room, Keysborough Primary School
Find out more about the finalists and winners
Read 2019 Victorian Early Years Awards finalist profiles