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VIT would like to congratulate the finalists of the 2023 Victorian Early Years Awards

The Victorian Early Years Awards (VEYA) celebrate leadership, outstanding achievement, exceptional dedication and innovation in improving outcomes for children aged birth to eight years and their families.

Winners are recognised as the best in Victoria for their category and go on to develop and share their inspiring work with their communities. They are also awarded grants of $15,000 to support their nominated activity or professional development.

VIT would like to congratulate the following registered teachers on being announced as a finalist for their category.

Early Childhood Teacher of the Year

Rachael Gemmill

Glen Education Glover Street Kindergarten

Rachael Gemmill led her team at Glen Education Glover Street Kindergarten to exceed in all 7 areas of the National Quality Standard for education and care. With a Masters of Inclusion, her commitment to cultivating a workplace culture that truly embraces inclusion and equality matches her determination to ensure that all children are provided with a quality education regardless of their support needs. This has enabled more children with complex needs to access support, resulting in improved outcomes.

Central to Rachael’s work is building strong social/emotional skills so she introduced the daily practice of gratitude, empathy, and mindfulness to support children’s ability to self-regulate across 16 of Glen Education’s services.

Rachael led the project across the organisation, gathering data from services, families, and local community members, providing professional development opportunities for the staff involved in delivering the practice, and engaging more than 1,200 children to teach them evidence-based strategies to build a toolbox to support their wellbeing.

Jacinta Anderson

Latrobe City Council

Throughout her career, Jacinta Anderson has demonstrated an unwavering passion and commitment to the education and welfare of young children, especially those from vulnerable backgrounds. In her role at Moe Heights Preschool, she sees it as her vocation to help vulnerable children reach their full potential.

In dealing with the adverse circumstances that many children in Moe experience, including trauma, family violence and poverty, Jacinta advocated for higher staff-to-child ratios to ensure children are being supported to develop language and social/emotional skills. By using all available supports, she creates an environment where children’s learning is maintained and those with additional needs are supported to participate fully.

Jacinta constantly seeks new ways to engage her students and make learning a fun and fulfilling experience. With a deep understanding of the developmental stages of young children, she provides a nurturing environment that promotes growth and development, whilst developing strategies to improve family engagement and participation.

Michelle Ives

Glenroy Central Kindergarten

Michelle Ives works at Glenroy Central Kindergarten, a multicultural community in an area where many face disadvantage. One of her fundamental goals is for every child to develop the skills and dispositions for lifelong learning. She strives to ensure they have the right support to take full advantage of their kindergarten education and to successfully transition to school.

Michelle works hard to create strong connections with families and to demonstrate commitment to their welfare and ability to access supports as required. In adapting to families from a variety of cultures, languages and customs, Michelle uses visual displays and incorporating relevant cultural elements into the programming and documentation of children’s learning.

Renowned in the community for her welcoming program, Michelle is celebrated for the strong support and advocacy she provides to families, and her success in making the kindergarten years an opportunity for children to develop critical life skills.

Congratulations to all the finalists in the 2023 Victorian Early Years awards. Find out more about the finalists for all seven categories.

Winners will be announced on Thursday 9 November, 2023.

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