media release


27 August 2019


Australia’s best early childhood educators and services revealed

Eight of Australia’s most outstanding early childhood educators and services have been announced as finalists in the 2019 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards.

The awards acknowledge the tremendous work of individuals and organisations who demonstrate a deep commitment to improving learning outcomes for children.

Nominees from rural and urban NSW and Victoria led the field.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the finalists were recognised for their outstanding work in creating innovative and inclusive learning environments for children.

“Chosen from an outstanding field, this year’s finalists have shown exceptional leadership and commitment to their roles as early childhood educators,” Ms Blakey said.

“We are pleased to recognise and shine a spotlight on the vital role these educators play in enhancing the learning outcomes of the next generation of young Australians.”

ME CEO Jamie McPhee said that they were proud to continue their 12-year partnership with the Awards and celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of early childhood educators.

“Early childhood educators provide a vital service to the Australian community. These are challenging roles that are often under-recognised, which is why these awards provide such a great opportunity to honour the exceptional work of early childhood educators,” McPhee said.

Winners will be announced at the 2019 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards on 26 September 2019. The awards are part of the Early Childhood Australia National Conference in Hobart.

Find out more about the Awards at

The 2019 finalists are:

Advancing Pedagogy & Practice:

Adamstown Community Early Learning and Preschool Practitioner Research Team
Adamstown, NSW

Recognised for increasing children’s ability to better perceive, assess and manage risks through a research-based risky play curriculum.

Balnarring Preschool
Balnarring, Victoria

Recognised for teaching and taking responsibility for reconciliation through embedding the history and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples into the early learning curriculum.

Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre Bush Kindergarten
Pheasant Creek, Victoria

Recognised for establishing a bush kinder program in response to the ongoing trauma of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, which resulted in adverse behaviour from children attending the centre.

Building Inclusion:

Goodstart Blue Haven
Blue Haven, NSW

Recognised for providing additional support and developing programs to improve services for children at their centre who demonstrated difficult behaviours.

Learning Links Preschool
Peakhurst, NSW

Recognised for implementing an early intervention strategy that works collaboratively with families to develop a personal learning plan for each child, no matter their ability.

Shine Bright Echuca South Community Kindergarten
Echuca, Victoria

Recognised for increasing the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families in the community through networking events and working with allied health providers.

Outstanding Graduate:

Monique Covacci
Featherbrook Kindergarten, Wyndham City
Point Cook, Victoria

Recognised for her approach to early learning that amplifies the voices of children and encourages inquisitiveness and a passion for learning amongst children.

Stacey Cumming
Aurora School For Young Deaf and Deafblind Children
Blackburn South, Victoria

Recognised for her work helping young deaf children reach their potential through embracing both Auslan and spoken language, building a strong foundation for communication in their early years.

To submit a nomination visit:



Media contact:

Sam Riley

Media Relations Manager

(03) 8660 1684


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