Acknowledging Australia's early childhood leaders

Published on Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Last updated on Thursday, 01 October 2020

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Thousands of Australian parents trust early education and care professionals with the care of their children on a daily basis. And as the number of children in early childhood services increases, so too does the role of early education and care professionals.

With their broadening scope of work, now is the time to acknowledge the evolution of the early education and care sector, and those who work in it, as an essential and often under recognised component of Australian family life.

This is where the Australian Early Education and Care Awards comes in. This annual award ceremony celebrates outstanding educators, and services, which demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the growth and development of the children in their care.

Judging Chairman, Paul Clancy says the awards are a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and say thank you to early childhood educators.

"As the expectations on the role of an early childhood educator and an early education and care service evolve so does the need to acknowledge the key role these professionals play in our community," he said.

National winners in the 2018 Australian Early Education and Care Awards have just been announced and we want to say a huge congratulations to:

Chemists' Own 'Service of the Year':
The Hills Montessori
Alexandra Hills, QLD

MyLife MySuper 'Director of the Year':
Sarah Causer of Children's Educational Care Centre
Hazelwood Park, SA

MyLife MyFinance 'Educator of the Year':
Poppy Woodhouse of Through Road Child Care Centre
Camberwell, VIC

Educational Experience 'Rising Star':
Sam Murray of North Fremantle School of Early Learning
North Fremantle, WA

Selected from close to 1,700 nominees, 117 finalists and 18 state winners, this year's four national winners wowed the Australian Early Education and Care Awards judging panel with their achievements, goals and plans for continued quality improvement and innovation in the early years education and care sector. They will now share in more than $85,000 in training and professional development grants.

Chemists' Own 'Service of the Year' The Hills Montessori is a passionate team of highly qualified and educated early childhood education and care professionals that nurture the kids in their care with a 'hands and mind work together' approach, creating experiences and programs with this philosophy as its backbone. Health and nutrition is an important focus area for the centre, with meals prepared from scratch on-site at The Hills Montessori, something both educators, families and children have been extensively involved in to ensure the initiative's success.

With an inherent commitment to the early education and care sector, MyLife MySuper 'Director of the Year' Sarah Causer has worked in the early childhood industry for 26 years and spent the last 11 at Children's Educational Care Centre, Hazelwood Park. Sarah believes in the development of empathy in children and as such, has developed community orientated programs with St Vinnies to visit the children and talk about the importance of supporting those less fortunate.

MyLife MyFinance 'Educator of the Year' Poppy Woodhouse always knew her calling was in early years education and care. Having worked and volunteered overseas before starting tertiary studies and work back in Australia, Poppy believes a solid education-based foundation in digital technologies is crucial, implementing photography and coding programs that positively impact young minds.

Community minded, Poppy encourages the children in her care to participate in an Intergenerational Playgroup with a local aged care facility and supports the children engaging with initiatives such as playground visits, Bush Kinder and pen-pal programs. Boosting children's self-esteem and supporting their mental health is a crucial element of Poppy's curriculum.

Humble, charitable and team orientated, Educational Experience 'Rising Star' Sam Murray has been instrumental in North Fremantle Schools of Early Learning, North Fremantle's partnership with Bicycles for Humanity, WA, restoring and donating bicycles for global communities. He first found his 'knack with the younger years' while travelling to South East Asia where he worked in a bilingual kindergarten and ever since, has committed his career to early years education and care.

Judging Chair Paul Clancy said he was overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication shown by those working in the early years education and care sector.

"We should all be incredibly proud and thankful to have these professionals playing a role in the development and growth of our children. Congratulations to this year's National Winners, we look forward to seeing you reach your goals and acknowledge all those that were nominated, named finalists and state winners," he said.

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