2017 Winners

​​​2017 Victorian Early Years Awards Winners

Improving access and participation in early learning

Winner : Wyndham Kindergartens - Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program and Practice at Scale

Wyndham City Council in partnership with:

  • Reconciliation Australia - Narragunnawali 
  • ​Murrundindi - Wurundjeri Elder 
  • Department of Education and Training (DET)
  • Wurundjeri Tribal Land Council 
  • Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation
  • National Parks Victoria​
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Improving access and participation in Early Learning Winner : Wyndham Kindergartens – Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program and Practice at Scale led by Wyndham City Council :

Wyndham City Council’s 23 kindergartens embraced the challenge of reconciliation by developing and implementing Reconciliation Action plans at each kindergarten involved. With the support of Traditional Owners and Elders and 200 local educators, Wyndham Kindergartens introduced strategies to increase kindergarten participation by Aboriginal children. This initiative was proudly embraced by 3000 children and families, building a strong sense of identity and increasing the Aboriginal children participation by 70 percent since 2012.


Supporting parents to build their capacity and confidence

Winner : Empowering Parents Empowering Communities

Victorian Cooperative on Children's Services for Ethnic Groups New Futures in partnership with:

  • The Smith Family - Brimbank Communities for Children 
  • Unity/Hume Communities for Children 
  • Murdoch Childrens Research Institute 
  • Centre for Parent and Child Support 
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Supporting Parents to Build Their Capacity and Confidence Award Winner: Empowering Parents Empowering Communities led by Victorian Cooperative on Children’s Services for Ethnic Groups New Futures

Helping parents from culturally diverse communities to develop positive parenting strategies, confidence and skills, is at the heart of the unique education and support program, Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities. The eight week ‘Being a Parent’ program aims to improve knowledge of local early years services, create new support networks and support parents of children aged 2 to 12 years. This program strives to build the confidence of mums and dads to parent children in their newly adopted country by improving their knowledge of local early years services and creating new support networks to rely on.

Creating collaborative community partnerships 

Winner : Healthy Beginnings for Refugee Mothers and Babies

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in partnership with:

  • Wyndham City Council
  • VICSEG New Futures
  • Mercy Hospitals Victoria Ltd
  • ​Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture ​
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Creating Collaborative Community Partnerships Award Winner: Healthy Happy Beginnings for Refugee Mothers and Babies led by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Healthy Happy Beginnings is a Melbournian community-based, socially inclusive program for refugee families from the Karen/Burma community. The program dedicated to address the needs of refugee families was developed through an extensive consultation process with the Karen community and health and refugee service providers. The program highlights what can be achieved when a collaborative approach is used to deliver health care and support during pregnancy. It has so far provided invaluable care and support during pregnancy to over 100 women.


Promoting children's health and wellbeing

Winner : Nurturing Room bridges Home to School

Warrnambool East Primary School in partnership with:

  • South West Local Learning and Employment Network
  • Rotary Club of Warrnmabool East 
  • ​Kim Ryan, Paediatric Occupational Therapist
  • Read to Dog
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Promoting Children’s Health and Wellbeing Award Winner : Nurturing Room Bridges Home to School led by Warrnambool East Primary School

The Nurturing Room Bridges Home to School focuses on helping vulnerable students manage trauma and get the support they need to reconnect with their classroom. The program provides students with a positive start to each day and a go-to person, making sure that they have someone to talk to on a daily basis. It is due to the skilled and passionate teachers that this nurturing room has provided students with structures and strategies to use whenever they feel distressed.


Early childhood teacher of the year

Winner : Rachel Webb

Save the Children - Nowa Nowa Kindergarten

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Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Award Winner : Rachel Webb from the Save the Children - Nowa Nowa Kindergarten

Making a difference to young people’s lives has already had Rachel recognised as an Aboriginal Best Start Facilitator at her kindergarten. She believes that in their approach teachers have an opportunity to lay life-lasting foundations for their students by helping them reconnect and appreciate nature. The bush kinder program she leads includes 25 children from the region, many of them from indigenous backgrounds. The concept of the program successfully combines education about indigenous cultures and their underlying and fond connection to land.


Minister's Award - Improving access and participation in early learning

No One Left Behind

Wodonga City Council in partnership with:

  • Upper Murray Family Care - Child FIRST Alliance 
  • Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service
  • Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation 
  • ​Albury Wodonga Health
  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) - Child Protection
  • Department of Education and Training (DET) 
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Minister’s Award Improving access and participation in Early Learning No One Left Behind led by Wodonga City Council

No One left Behind initiative is determined to create a community that guarantees access and opportunity to the most vulnerable within the municipality. By actively seeking out vulnerable children and facilitating their access and ongoing participation in the early year’s sector, this initiative creates an opportunity for every child involved to fulfil their natural potential. The initiative works collaboratively with the entire community to provide equitable access and set children up for a better future by helping them in their formative years.