media release


25 May 2020


Search begins for Australia's best early childhood educators


Exceptional early childhood professionals are being sought as nominations open for the 2020 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards.


The prestigious annual Awards, which have a $30,000 prize pool up for grabs, recognise early childhood educators and carers who have demonstrated excellence in improving learning outcomes for children.


HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said making a nomination was a fantastic way to celebrate the dedicated people working hard to improve the lives of young children and their families.


“The role early educators and carers play in a child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development is critical,” Ms Blakey said.


“There is excellent and innovative work being done in the sector every day to enhance the delivery and outcomes of early childhood education, and submitting a nomination is one way we can recognise these people and their important contributions to society.


“During these challenging times early childhood educators have continued to provide vital education to the children of essential workers, demonstrating again how they underpin key services and broader economic activity by supporting the community to work.”


Employers, colleagues and families have until 25 September to nominate individuals and organisations – working with children from birth to eight years of age – who demonstrate innovation, quality improvement and enhanced learning outcomes for young children in a variety of settings, including preschool, long day care, primary school or outside-of-hours care.


HESTA Awards sponsor ME – the bank for you – has donated the prize money, with the winner of each category – Advancing Pedagogy and Practice, Outstanding Organisation and Individual Leadership – to receive $10,000 for further education, service or team development.


ME CEO Jamie McPhee said the organisation was thrilled to partner with HESTA once again to recognise excellence in the sector.


“Each year, ME is proud to support and witness to the countless waves of early childhood professionals who display exceptional leadership and pave the way for further innovations in their respective fields,” Mr McPhee said.


“ME is incredibly honoured to have been supporting these awards since 2007, and we hope to continue doing so for many years to come.”


Finalists will receive complimentary registration for the Early Childhood Australia National Conference, with interstate finalists flown to Brisbane to attend the Awards dinner on 23 April 2021.


For more information or to submit a nomination, visit


The 2019 winners were:


Advancing Pedagogy and Practice

Adamstown Community Early Learning and Preschool (ACELP) - Practitioner Research Team
Adamstown NSW

Awarded for their research-based curriculum, which increased children’s ability to perceive, assess and manage risks during play.


Building Inclusion


Goodstart Blue Haven
Blue Haven NSW

Awarded for developing a range of programs to foster an inclusive learning environment for vulnerable children attending the childcare centre.


Outstanding Graduate

Stacey Cumming
Aurora School for Young Deaf and Deafblind Children
Blackburn South VIC

Awarded for teaching young deaf and deafblind children to learn and develop skills in Auslan and spoken language, helping them become effective communicators in their early developmental years.




Media contact:

Sam Riley

Media Relations Manager

(03) 8660 1684


Back to Media Centre