Message from the Deputy Secretary

A message from Kim Little, Deputy Secretary of Early Childhood Education.

Dear colleagues

Welcome to the final edition of Early Childhood Update for 2022. After the great response we had to the re-launch of our newsletter in October, and a brief pause in November while the Victorian Government was in caretaker mode, it is great to have this publication back as we wrap up another busy year in the early childhood education sector.

Next year, Victoria’s Best Start, Best Life reforms will commence, with Free Kinder for 3 and 4-year-old children available at participating services. The roll-out of universal Three-Year-Old Kindergarten also continues, with flexible hours introduced statewide. On behalf of the department, I thank you for the incredible work you have done to prepare for and introduce these new initiatives, which are supporting so many children and families and having a profound positive impact on children’s development and learning.

Victorian Early Years Awards

Last month, I attended the 2022 Victorian Early Years Awards (VEYAs) and, as with many significant award events, it was the first time it had been held in-person for 3 years.

It was a joy to reconnect with sector colleagues and hear about the fantastic work being done by our talented and passionate early years professionals.

I’m so proud to work in a sector that is about making a real and tangible difference in our community, by contributing to the learning and development of young Victorian children.

Our wonderful early childhood education services are a huge part of what knits the community and families together, as they support young children to thrive.

These awards, now in their 17th year, celebrate this contribution. Further to that, the awards recognise the passionate people who strive every day to improve the lives of Victorian children and their families.

The 19 finalists across 7 categories exemplify the diversity and strength of the early years sector in Victoria.

The winner in each category received a grant of $15,000 for professional development or to support their nominated initiative.

The finalists and winners in each category were also eligible to win the Minister’s Award, which this year went to Amandah Taylor of Yuille Park Children’s Centre.

Under Amandah’s leadership, the centre has developed a successful kindergarten program supporting to one of the most disadvantaged communities in Victoria.

She is passionate about developing strong community relationships and upskilling educators, and she is an admirable advocate for vulnerable families.

I’d also like to congratulate Brooke O’Brien of The Honeypot Early Learning Centre in Koroit, who was named 2022 Early Childhood Teacher of the Year.

Please take the opportunity to check out the website to find out more about all of the winners and finalists.

The awards website is a terrific reflection of our early childhood workforce and proof of the high standards, innovation and professionalism embodied by the sector. That’s why we want to build our workforce and give more people the opportunity to join you in this vital work.

Going into 2023

Next year, you will continue to see our recruitment campaign running across Victoria and interstate, promoting financial incentives, workforce supports and job opportunities at Victorian early childhood education services.

Whether through the TV, radio, social media or newspapers, we’ll be getting the message out there and connecting interested people directly to jobs, training and study opportunities.

I’d also like to encourage services and providers to post roles on our Early Childhood Jobs Board . It is free to post roles on this site so please use this opportunity to help find the right person for your available roles.

Alongside supporting recruitment for current workforce needs, we will continue to promote careers in early childhood for school leavers and students, upskillers and those looking for a career change.

Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday period. Thank you for your hard work this year and I hope you join me in looking forward to an exciting 2023.

Kim Little
Deputy Secretary
Early Childhood Education