Gippsland residents can now nominate local early childhood professionals and organisations for a Victorian Early Years Award.

Harriet Shing Member for Eastern Victoria Region announced the opening of nominations for the 2017 Victoria Early Years Awards today, encouraging local families, early childhood professionals and organisations to nominate themselves or others who are dedicated to making a difference.

The awards, now in their 11th year, recognise the crucial work early childhood professionals do to make a difference to the lives of local children and families.

They celebrate the achievements and commitment of early childhood professionals across five award categories, including those promoting children’s health and wellbeing, supporting parents, creating collaborative community partnerships, and improving access to early learning.

Teacher Meagan Hull, from Bentons Square Kindergarten in Mornington, was awarded the 2016 Early Childhood Teacher of the Year for her life-changing work with children with additional learning needs.

Winners share in more than $80,000 in prize money, with nominations running from 20 March to 15 May.

The Andrews Labor Government is investing $60 million in the early childhood sector through building and upgrading kindergartens and children’s centres.

For more details and to nominate for the 2017 Victorian Early Years Awards:

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Harriet Shing:

These awards are an opportunity to recognise the great work so many passionate and caring early childhood professionals in Gippsland do every day to help local families and kids thrive.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos:

“Some of Australia’s most talented, passionate and best early years professionals work in Victoria and our early years awards are the opportunity to recognise their amazing work.”