2019 Victorian Early Years Awards finalists announced

​The Victorian Early Years Awards recognise the crucial work of early childhood professionals who make a difference to the lives of Victorian children and families.

Now in its 14th year, the awards celebrate the achievements and commitment of early childhood professionals across seven categories, including those promoting children's health and wellbeing, supporting parents, creating collaborative community partnerships and improving access to early learning.

Winners will be announced during a ceremony at the National Gallery of Victoria on Tuesday, 22 October, and they will receive between $10,000 and $15,000 towards enhancing their work and undertaking professional development.

Last year's winner of the Early Childhood Teacher of the Year, Nicole Bechaz, put her award money towards learning from child psychiatrist Dr Bruce Perry to deepen her understanding of trauma in early childhood and its effects on neurological development.

Super Koorie Kids is one of twenty Victorian Early Years Awards 2019 finalists recognised for their outstanding contribution to early childhood learning.

Super Koorie Kids is a culturally welcoming Bush Playgroup for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, held at the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Gathering Place in Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula.

Launched in 2016 as a collaboration between Willum Warrain and Mornington Peninsula Shire, the program is a weekly opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families to learn about their culture in a caring environment, surrounded by kin.

In 2019, management of Super Koorie Kids passed to three parents.

"The way this program has evolved is an example of true self-determination and a celebration of the ability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to have autonomy over their lives." says Suzy Stephens, Team Leader Education and Care, Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Suzy says she is overwhelmed that the program has been selected as a finalist.

For more details on the awards and this year's finalists, see: Victorian Early Years Awards.