Published 14 Nov 2022
2022 Victorian Early Years Awards winners have been announced
The Minister for Early Childhood and Pre Prep has announced the winners of the 2022 Victorian Early Years Awards on Wednesday 9 November, at an online awards ceremony hosted by Myf Warhurst.
Six organisations and two early childhood teachers have been recognised for their achievements and contributions to leadership, outstanding achievement and innovation in improving outcomes for Victorian children and their families.
Winners of each category will receive a grant of $15,000 for professional development or to support their nominated initiative.
Early Childhood Teacher of the Year
Awarded to an early childhood teacher who demonstrates evidence-based innovation and exemplary practice in early childhood education, and making a significant contribution to the development and delivery of high-quality early childhood education programs that improve learning and development outcomes for children.
Winner - Brooke O’Brien
Early childhood teacher Brooke O’Brien implemented a Bush Kinder program to support the development of children at Koroit’s Honeypot Early Learning Centre, many of whom are experiencing trauma and struggling with regulating emotion.
Situated at local Aboriginal site, Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, the Bush Kinder Program was developed in consultation with the local Gunditjmara community to help children experience nature and develop emotional wellbeing while learning about local Aboriginal history and culture.
With training in trauma-informed practice, Brooke has adapted the Bush Kinder program to meet children’s needs, ensuring they feel safe and supported. Brooke has implemented sensory play as a therapy tool, uses predictable routines and engages children’s interest to support the forming of trusting relationships.
Summative assessments of children’s learning and development have demonstrated the Bush Kinder program is having a positive impact. At the beginning of the year, assessments showed 40% of children were below expected developmental levels, after six months of the Bush Kinder children were meeting developmental milestones.
The Minister’s Award
The Minister’s Award is a special commendation that has been selected from the pool of finalists across all seven categories and selected by the Minister of Early Childhood.
Winner - Amandah Taylor
Under the leadership of Amandah Taylor, the Children’s Centre team at Yuille Park Community College has developed a kindergarten program catering to one of the most disadvantaged communities in Victoria.
Amandah has taken the service from ‘Working Towards’ to ‘Excellence’ in all 7 areas of the National Quality Standards, in just 4 years. Demonstrating a strong commitment to professional development and evidence-based practice, Amandah has tailored her kindergarten programs to meet the needs of the diverse community.
Through the development of the Yuille Park Community College Reconciliation Action Plan and the Anti-Racism Policy for the Children’s Centre and college Amandah has built strong and culturally sensitive relationships with the local Aboriginal community.
Amandah’s leadership skills were instrumental in coordinating the City of Ballarat’s Best Start Program, and in the development and implementation of a bridging program between the college and the centre, ensuring continuity of learning and the successful transition to Prep for a vulnerable cohort of children.