Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Early Childhood Learning & Development Sector Awards!

13 Feb 2024
Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Early Childhood Learning & Development Sector Awards! Image

Child Australia, in collaboration with organising partners Goodstart, Regional Early Education and Development (REED), The Y WA and Ngala, hosted WA’s first 2023 Early Childhood Learning & Development Sector Awards on Friday 17 April at Optus Stadium.  

The awards serve as a platform to recognise and celebrate the exceptional contributions of individuals and organisations who have demonstrated unwavering commitment to delivering quality outcomes for children and families within the Early Childhood Sector. 

“Now more than ever we need to come together to celebrate and acknowledge the commitment and dedication of sector professionals who strive to make a difference and a positive impact on the lives of children and families every day”, said Tina Holtom, Child Australia’s CEO.   

24 finalists were selected for eight awards categories to acknowledge individuals and organisations, who have made significant contributions to the Early Childhood sector. 200 guests came together at Optus Stadium’s Sport Lounge as inspiring stories were showcased throughout the night. 

“The evening was a huge success where emotions ran high as educators were recognised for their commitment and dedication in making a difference and a positive impact in the lives of children and families every day”, said Tina Holtom, Child Australia’s CEO. 

An independent judging panel was appointed to select the best of best in the ECEC sector. The Panel consisted of key stakeholders from across the sector and other industries including Tertiary Education, Independent Training, and Local Government.  

“It was an inspiring evening and such a privilege to be in the same room with so many high calibre individuals and representatives of the ECEC sector”, said Ms Holtom. 

“Child care is a critical service across the country, including regions where we operate such as the Pilbara and Goldfields. The professionalism and care shown by early childhood educators contributes to the strength and sustainability of the sector and we’re proud to partner with Child Australia to recognise these achievements”, said Meath Hammond, BHP Head of Corporate Affairs WA 

As well as the recognition that these awards bring, finalists will each receive $500, and winners will receive an additional $1,000 prize.  

The 2023 Early Childhood Learning and Development Sector Awards were made possible thanks to major sponsor BHP and individual award sponsors CTAS Education, Xplor, Busybees, Wanslea, Goodstart, Ngala, the Y WA and REED. 


The winners are: 

Outstanding Educator Award  

Lee Peing Lim – One Tree Millars Well Children’s Service 

Lee has been working for One Tree Millars Well for three years. She consistently works above and beyond her job description, using her relationships with the community to build fellow colleagues knowledge, mentoring and motivating staff and always researching to find new and innovative ideas to keep the team inspired. She leads by example and is a positive influence on the Centre’s vision and mission.  


Outstanding Indigenous Educator Award  

Corrine Bell – Goodstart Early Learning Stratton 

Corrine is a proud Ballardong Noongar woman and her family are from Northam WA. She has working in the early learning sector for 14 years in various roles across all age groups. She is passionate about working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the community to share history and traditional cultures and sharing that with both educators and children. Corrine strives to create an environment that’s inclusive and appreciative of where each person comes from, supporting children to be the voice of tomorrow.  


Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher  

Lara Bowler – Tall Tree Early Learning Banksia Grove 

Lara is a newly qualified Early Childhood Teacher and the pedagogical leader at Tall Tree Early Learning in Banksia Grove. She excels in her role of working collaboratively with educators to provide curriculum direction and guidance, supporting the curriculum across the service and expanding to other services as her role continues to evolve.  


Rising Star Award  

Rachael Baker – Goodstart Riverside Gardens 

Rachel entered the Early Education & Care Sector 12 months ago as a trainee. She consistently engages with training opportunities and makes significant changes and efforts to embed all she has learnt into her practice and program she delivers. She goes above and beyond in her support for children, speaking to allied health teams for strategies and support to implement for children with additional needs in her care.  


Excellence in Leadership Award  

Rocky Beaton – Pachamama Early Education & Care 

Rocky is the Executive Centre Manager of Pachamama’s two services in the Perth Hills. She leads with strength, calmness and a sense of ever-present graceful dignity during her eight-year tenure, with an extraordinary capability to connect with staff, families and the community in a way that engenders support through both rough and tranquil seas.  

Excellence in Community Engagement or School Partnerships Award  

West Pilbara Mobile Children’s Service – Child Australia 

The West Pilbara Mobile Children’s Service (WPMCS) is the only mobile children’s service offering support for young families and communities on a weekly basis who are socially and geographically isolated with limited or no access to quality early childhood education & care. The program supports and collaborates with three remote community schools as well as health, well-being, cultural and leisure services to ensure that the children and families have a link and relationship to the Port Hedland providers.  


Excellence in Innovative and Sustainable Practice Award  

Pachamama Early Education & Child Care 

Pachamama is well-known for exceptional environments featuring nature, creativity and cultural diversity in a home-away-from-home setting. Many innovative and sustainable practices are underpinned by these extraordinary surroundings. This includes the outdoor learning environment to improve the community’s physical development and creating settings that create calm and enriching spaces to support employee’s wellbeing and rejuvenation needs. 


Outstanding Child Allied Health Practitioner Award  

Sarah Mountford – WA Country Health Service – South West 

Sarah is a speech pathologist who has worked at Bunbury Child Development Service since 2015. She is passionate about families and helping them on their health journey, implementing new ideas with effortless flair. Sarah is currently leading a project known as FEELS – Flexible Entry to Early Language Services, her goal is to give families an empowering start, seeing parents and carers as the true drivers of change. She works closely with families to help them reach their goals, running playgroups where families can learn and implement new strategies in a welcoming and supportive space.