2016 Winners

2016 Victorian Early Years Awards Winners

Winners in each of the categories receive $15,000 to support the development of their program. The Early Childhood Teacher of the Year receives $10,000 for their professional development.

Improving access and participation in early learning: East Sunshine Kindergarten Early Childhood Access and Participation Project (ECAP)

Chin refugee mother with daughter playing with puzzles

The East Sunshine Kindergarten works with the newly arrived Chin-refugee-community from Burma to help increase their engagement and participation in kindergarten.

Partnering with the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, the kindergarten has facilittated conversations between educators and Chin parent advisers, to identify and address cultural and practical barriers to inclusion.


This has created a welcoming, supportive environment where Chin families are now highly involved in all activities from working bees and transition days to being parent helpers. The kindergarten employs bicultural staff, provides practical support and has strong connections to many community agencies, the Chin church and feeder primary schools.

East Sunshine Kindergarten in partnership with Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture.

Supporting Parents to Build Their Capacity And Confidence Award: Family Early Learning Partnership (FELP), Hume City Council and partner agencies

Combines expertise in child development with specialist family support, including:

Mum and teacher playing with toddler

  • advice and referrals to families to enhance children’s learning
  • helping parents to develop strategies to engage in more positive parent-to-child interactions
  • srengthens protective factors for families experiencing challenges.
  • aimis to build stronger families through enhancing children’s learning and play, with a strengths-based approach to building parents’ and carers’ capacity.
Hume City Council and partners:
  • Hume Moreland integrated family services
  • child protection,
  • maternal and child health nurses
  • early years educators

Creating Collaborative Community Partnerships Award: A Collaborative Response to Family Violence in the East, Eastern Community Legal Centre and partner agencies

Eastern Community Legal Centre have collaborated on a project that prevents and responds to family violence.

The project aims to support the improved safety and wellbeing of women and children through providing an integrated response to family violence onsite at multiple local health clinics.

  • Eastern Community Legal centre and partners:
  • Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service
  • Eastern Domestic Violence Service
  • Maroondah City Council
  • Yarra Ranges Council

Promoting Children’s Health and Wellbeing Award: A holistic approach to improving community health outcomes at Jindi Kindergarten, Goodstart Early Learning and partner agencies

Jindi Family and Community Centre provides critical support services to families and children through its Mernda Kindergarten and Extended Care Program.

The centre is a partnership between the City of Whittlesea, Good Start Early Learning and the Brotherhood of St Laurence and its holistic approach to support focuses on early intervention and strong community engagement.

The kindergarten program sees university qualified early childhood teachers and highly-experienced Good Start educators deliver play-based learning that supports children learning skills for school and beyond.

Goodstart Early Learning and partners:
  • The Brotherhood of St Laurence
  • Plenty Valley Community Health
  • City of Whittlesea

Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Award: Meagan Hull, Bentons Square Kindergarten, Mornington

Meagan Hull of Bentons Square Kindergarten in Mornington was awarded the 2016 Early Childhood Teacher of the Year. Known for her commitment to early education and her life-changing work with children with additional learning needs, Megan received the honour at the 2016 Victorian Early Years Awards at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Meagan Hull with her students smilingMeagan Hull is committed to providing a high-quality early childhood experience for all children and plays a key leadership role at the Bentons Square Kindergarten.

She is also a Pedagogical Leader for Community Kinders Plus and provides teaching advice across the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region.

Previously Meagan was Chairperson for the Peninsula and Chelsea Kindergarten Teachers Association and is still an active member on the Committee.
At Bentons Square Kindergarten Meagan leads a team of 15 teachers and educators. Educators in two of the four year old groups work in partnership with Biala Peninsula, a local early intervention agency, to provide an inclusive program for children with a range of additional needs.

The program has operated successfully for more than four years. Meagan provides support to the families of children with additional needs by attending meetings as an advocate, liaising with and coordinating early intervention staff working in the kindergarten setting, along with providing mentoring support for the teaching staff at the centre.

Minister’s Award: Coaching Koorie Kids – Early Years Health Promotion, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and partner agencies

Koorie kids flexing their muscles for fitness with the coach from coaching koorie kids programThe Coach Program is a holistic health and wellbeing program for Aboriginal children in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. ‘Coaches’ from the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service partner with Yappera Children’s Services and Bubup Wilam for Early Learning to increase kinder children’s wellbeing and health education.

The Coaches deliver fun weekly 30-minute lessons that promote the importance of physical activity, healthy eating, drinking water and staying smoke free. Coaches instil these positive and healthy habits as the building blocks for their adult lives, and enabling the kids to become strong health ambassadors in their homes, community and beyond.