Early childhood teacher Nicole Bechaz leads a team of 16 teachers and educators at Banyan Fields Kindergarten who provide programs for 156 children, many with additional need.
Nicole has recently been recognised for her work providing opportunities for children beyond a traditional kindergarten program, winning the Early Childhood Teacher of the Year at the 2018 Victorian Early Years Awards.
The awards recognise the contributions of individuals and organisations who work to improve the health, learning, development and wellbeing of young children across Victoria. Nicole said the award highlights all the fantastic working happening in the Early Childhood sector.
'It's just such an acknowledgment of all the behind the scenes work that goes into creating amazing kindergarten programs across Victoria.'
'It made me stop and think about everything that I do.'
Her participation in the Let's Chat Oral Language Program has increased parents’ skills and knowledge around the importance of early reading.
By developing a relationship with Banyan Fields Primary, Nicole has also helped strengthen the link between early childhood and primary school services. This has led to smooth and successful transitions for children and families.
Her passion for early childhood education comes from her mother, who was a kindergarten teacher. Growing up, Nicole always wanted to be just like her.
'I feel so privileged that I have an incredible job where I can make a difference,' she said.
'The early years are so important because it sets the foundations for all learning and all of life. And the kids are incredible. They teach me something new every day – they are amazing people.'
With the nominations for the 2019 Victorian Early Years Awards opening soon, now is a good time to start thinking about an early childhood service or teacher that deserves recognition.
See all 2018 Victorian Early Years Awards categories and winners.