media release


7 October 2022   


Inspirational winners of the 2022 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards announced


Winners of the 2022 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards were announced on Friday night during a special celebration in Canberra to acknowledge the vital role our early childhood educators play in helping set our future generations up for success.


Goodstart Early Learning Glenfield Park won the Advancing Pedagogy & Practice category for their commitment to improving children’s abilities to regulate their emotions and engage in learning, with the integration of a ‘Trauma-Informed Mindfulness’ program.


Explore & Develop Penrith was awarded Outstanding Organisation, for their leadership and innovation to support the mental health and wellbeing of young children through the ‘Key Resilience, Mental Health and Trauma’ program.


Individual Leadership winner Elizabeth Price from Gloucester Preschool & Early Years Learning Centre was recognised for her commitment to challenge and inspire children through natural learning environments.


HESTA CEO Debby Blakey congratulated this year’s winners and finalists and acknowledged the significant impact they have made for young Australians.


“Our early childhood educators and carers are critical members of our communities. It all starts with them; they’re laying the foundations of education for our future generations. Congratulations to all our winners and finalists for their incredible contributions.”


“The level of professionalism and leadership shown, as they continue to provide vital education and care for our youngest Australians is to be admired and celebrated. We are so grateful for the enormous impact they make for our society and it’s a great privilege to be able to help share these inspiring stories and recognise their important work.”


ME CEO Martine Jager praised the winners and said the bank was proud to be a long-time supporter of the HESTA Awards program.


“Every child deserves a quality early education and that’s exactly what these winners provide each and every day. They demonstrate care and leadership in early childhood education and a dedication that goes well above the call of duty. The team and I at ME Bank are very proud to support these winners.”


Since 2010, the national Awards have recognised the front-line educators and carers at the very heart of Australia’s early childhood education system. The three winners each received $10,000, courtesy of ME Bank, for professional development or to improve services or processes in the workplace.


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Introducing the 2022 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Award Winners:




Goodstart Early Learning Glenfield Park


Goodstart Early Learning Glenfield Park was recognised for providing a welcoming, safe environment that facilitates positive interactions for all children and their families. The team integrated a ‘Trauma-Informed Mindfulness’ program into their practice, which improved the children’s abilities to regulate their emotions and engage in learning. Danelle Brilley, Early Childhood Teacher / Educational Leader said it was humbling to be recognised for the deep dive their team has taken over the past 18 months.


“Our team is so deeply passionate and dedicated to providing high quality care and high-quality education for our children. The HESTA Award gives us a chance to celebrate the hard work, to celebrate the difference we are making, not only at a centre level, but our local community and beyond. I am extremely privileged to walk alongside my team, as we make greater impacts for our children and our families,” Ms Brilley said.


The Centre will use the prize money to bring more resources into the Wagga Wagga area, and further empower their staff through more training to best support their children and families.




Explore & Develop Penrith


Explore & Develop Penrith was recognised for its leadership and innovation to support the mental health and wellbeing of young children through the Key Resilience, Mental Health and Trauma program. Rachael Sydir, Owner/Director of Explore & Develop thanked HESTA for seeing the value in their project.


“Our team is grateful and humbled to have won this award. The team opened their hearts and allowed themselves to be open, honest, and vulnerable. Without this, we would not have been able to achieve these outcomes,” Ms Sydir said.


“Being recognised for our commitment to children’s health and wellbeing encompassing mental health, trauma and attachment is something that we are really proud of. It means so much to us as the project is something that we have spent a lot of time learning and embedding into our practice and pedagogy. The key resilience program has allowed us to see ourselves and our children through a lens of compassion and empathy,” she said.


The team will use the prize money to continue their work with their Mental Health Occupational Therapist, Lorrie Louws, as well as branch out into the local community and share the work they are doing, so that other Early Learning services can see the positive impact that the Key Resilience program can make.




Elizabeth Price, Director of Gloucester Preschool & Early Years Learning Centre


Elizabeth is recognised for her commitment to challenge and inspire the children in her care through natural learning environments. She has worked for ten years to build a service grounded in nature pedagogy that reflects the unique community and environment.


For Elizabeth, being selected as a winner in the HESTA Awards is a wonderful opportunity to reflect and showcase what has been achieved in their small, rural community with the support of staff and community members.


“It celebrates our role as advocates for children, their rights to have access to high quality early childhood education, natural learning environments and real connections to nature and community. Being a winner recognizes my commitment to push the boundaries in what can be achieved through high quality early childhood education and care and to inspire my professional colleagues to collaborate and continually grow our profession. It’s very humbling to win this award. I have such amazing colleagues and an amazing team. “Ms Price said.


Elizabeth plans to use the prize money for professional development to support the centre’s teachers to continue their Bush School studies and to fund an overseas study tour.




Media contact:

Sam Riley

General Manager Media Relations

(03) 8660 1684


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