2017 Early Years Awards finalists announced

​A ‘Being a Parent’ course believed to be an Australian first is among 15 finalists in the 2017 Early Years Awards, held to recognise and celebrate outstanding contribution to early childhood.

You know a course has been successful when graduates ask if they can repeat it.

'It was the first time in Australia the program had been run in Vietnamese,' facilitator Nhung Nguyen says of the eight-week 'Being a Parent' course for Vietnamese speakers, held in Braybrook.

'The parents loved it and got so much out of it, they didn’t want it to stop.'

The innovative course is one of 15 finalists in this year’s Victorian Early Years Awards, held to recognise and celebrate outstanding contribution to early childhood.

Ms Nguyen is a family mentor for the Vietnamese community with the Victorian Cooperative on Children's Services for Ethnic Groups (VICSEG). Ms Nguyen says she is delighted and proud that the Being a Parent program has been selected as a finalist in the awards.

The Victorian Early Years Awards in the Education State

Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years. Early childhood is the foundation for lifelong wellbeing and learning.

The Victorian Early Years Awards celebrate the exceptional contributions that early childhood professionals make to the lives of Victorian children and families.

Now in their 12th year, the awards recognise the achievements and commitment of early childhood professionals across five award categories, including those promoting children’s health and wellbeing, supporting parents, creating collaborative community partnerships and improving access to early learning.

Winners, to be announced at the National Gallery of Victoria on Monday, 23 October, are in line to receive between $10,000 and $15,000 to go towards enhancing their work.

Last year’s Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Meagan Hull, from Bentons Square Kindergarten in Mornington, used her winnings to travel to a conference and visit preschools in the US to expand her knowledge of teaching children with special needs.

'Children with additional needs can bring so much to our early childhood communities when we embrace and welcome their inclusion,' Ms Hull said.

'We can learn so much from these children and their families and in so doing, become better teachers for all the children whose lives we influence in those early years.

'It was with great surprise that I went on to be shortlisted for the award and then to win - I hadn’t even prepared a thank you speech,' Ms Hull recalls.

For more information on the awards and a full list of this year’s finalists, see: 2017 Finalist profiles