Celebrating the 18th annual Victorian Early Years Awards

We recognised 9 early childhood professionals and initiatives for their outstanding work to improve outcomes for young children.

A group of VEYA award winners stand in a line and are celebrating their awards. Their hands are held up and they are smiling towards the camera.

With the permission of family, the below information includes the names of Aboriginal people who have passed.

At an event on Thursday 9 November 2023, the Minister for Children, the Hon Lizzie Blandthorn MP, announced the winners of this year’s Victorian Early Years Awards.

This year’s event had even more to celebrate than usual, with the addition of 2 new award categories.

The importance of Aboriginal inclusion and perspectives was recognised through a newly dedicated award commemorating the life and legacy of Yorta Yorta, Wiradjuri woman Aunty Rose Bamblett (1947–2022).

The inaugural Aunty Rose Bamblett Koorie Early Years Legacy Award recognised Yirram Burron and Perridak Burron Early Learning, Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative for a project that has had a profound impact in the community.

The award recognises their tremendous efforts in creating a culturally safe environment that delivers educational programs based on Aboriginal perspectives. These programs have nurtured a learning environment that enhances children’s love for land and community.

The second new award was Educator of the Year, which went to Sue Bullock from Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre.

Sue implemented reforms raising the service's quality rating, as well as steering the organisational culture to emphasise trust, respect and empathy.

Praising our winners

Across each of the 9 award categories, the winners exemplify the vital work happening in the sector every day to support the critical early years of children’s lifelong education journeys.

Pippa Procter, executive director, Early Learning Practice and Participation, said it was a wonderful occasion to recognise early childhood services and staff for their hard work.

‘It was great to celebrate the hard work of some of the amazing professionals in our sector – they make a huge difference to the lives of children and their families right across our state,’ Pippa said.

Individual honours

Rachael Gemmill from Glen Education Glover Street Kindergarten was one of the individual award winners, taking out the Early Childhood Teacher of the Year award.

This year’s Minister’s Award went to Northern Schools Early Years Cluster Inc for supporting children’s transitions to school.

Award recipients

This year’s award recipients in the remaining categories were:

  • Improving Access and Participation in Early Learning: Fast-tracking 15 hours of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten for children at risk – Northern Schools Early Years Cluster Inc
  • Supporting Parents to Build their Capacity and Confidence: The HoPES team, strengthening the Early Years, Tweddle Child and Family Health Service
  • Creating Collaborative Community Partnerships: Darebin Best Start Aboriginal Reference Group, Darebin City Council
  • Promoting Children’s Health and Wellbeing: By Five Paediatric Project, By Five
  • Continuity of Early Learning: Greater Dandenong Early Learning Alliance, Keysborough Primary School
  • The Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler Excellence in Educational Leadership award: Early Childhood Education Team, Early Childhood Management Services Inc.

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

Find out more

For the full details of this year’s winners and finalists, refer to Winners of the 2023 Victorian Early Years Awards.

For further queries, please contact the department by email: early.years.awards@education.vic.gov.au