An early childhood program that is improving the lives of children in Hastings is being recognised and celebrated as being among the state’s best, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Jane Garret today announced Super Koorie Kids Bush Playgroup, located in Hastings as one of 20 Victorian Early Years Awards finalists, who are being recognised for their outstanding contributions to the early childhood education sector across the state.

Super Koorie Kids led by Willum Warrain local gathering place/in partnership with Mornington Peninsula Shire, began in 2016 as a culturally welcoming Bush Playgroup for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. The aim was to create an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to be immersed in their culture and learn in a caring environment, surrounded by kin.

Now in its 14th year, the Victorian Early Years Awards recognise the crucial work of early childhood professionals in helping young children to learn and thrive.

Award winners in each category will receive up to $15,000 to continue their exceptional work in kindergarten services, schools, local councils, Maternal Child and Health services and other early year’s organisations across the state.

The awards celebrate the achievements and commitment of early childhood professionals across seven award categories, including supporting parents and the early childhood teacher of the year.

Early childhood education is the foundation for lifelong wellbeing and learning, and the Labor Government is committed to expanding services delivered to children and their families.

Making Victoria the Education State starts with the early years. This is why, in an Australian first, the Labor Government is investing almost $5 billion over the next decade to deliver full 15 hours per week of funded three-year-old kindergarten programs, to be progressively rolled out from 2020.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 22nd October at the National Gallery of Victoria.

For more details on this year’s finalists, see: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/awards/Pages/veya-finalists-2019.aspx

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education, James Merlino:

“The Victorian Early Years Awards are a great opportunity to recognise our early childhood professionals, and the inspiring work they do every day to set our youngest Victorians up for success in life.”

Quotes attributable to Member of Eastern Victoria, Jane Garrett:

“I wish to congratulate our fantastic early childhood professionals and programs, including every one of those recognised as finalists in this year’s Victorian Early Years Awards.”

“Every day, caring and passionate early childhood professionals and services work tirelessly in Hastings to help local families and children thrive and get the most out of their early education. Their dedicated work inspires all of us.”