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Australian Family Early Childhood Awards

Our Karana, Capalaba and Springfield services were finalists in the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards, with Karana winning!

Australian Family annually presents these national awards in celebration of early childhood education and care. They are open to all who educate and care for young children in all sectors of early year’s care…community or private; occasional, sessional, long day or school-aged care; home-based or centre-based. This year there were 1711 nominees for the awards across Australia.


2017 Judging Criteria

Every nominee was invited to provide a personal submission and therefore had the opportunity to specifically respond to the judging criteria against which judges assessed them.  Australian Family was looking for outstanding early childhood education and care professionals at all levels of qualifications and experience whose work with children goes beyond the everyday good practice that is expected of someone at their level of experience and qualifications.


Nominees were assessed against their ability to demonstrate the personal contributions they have made to help achieve outcomes that are beyond everyday good practice in the following areas:


1   Improving the wellbeing of the children

2   Improving the children’s program

3   Improving the early childhood service

4   Ongoing professional learning and development

5   Improving inclusive interactions and partnerships with families


Below is the detailed judging criteria for Early Childhood Service of the Year.


To be considered for an award in the category of Early Childhood Service of the Year, nominees must complete a nominee submission and:

Achieve outcomes in the following areas, that are beyond everyday good practice; and/or have set plans in motion to do so):

1   Wellbeing of all children which demonstrates best practice in how needs have been met

2   Creative and ongoing improvements to the children’s program (experiences, interactions, environments, pedagogy, etc)

3   Innovations that improve the service including the service’s formal system of continuous improvement

4   Ongoing program of professional development of all staff, and resulting leadership in specific methods (including strategies like professional conversations, mentoring, network of professional learners, and focuses like Reggio, inclusive practices, reconciliation etc)

Innovative and continuing improvements to inclusive interactions and partnerships with all families in the nominee’s particular setting


Below are a few snippets from Karana’s application to give you a sense of their beautiful work:


“Our team at Karana has been thoughtfully put together over the years, and is a strong group of highly dedicated and passionate educators – each with their own strengths and talents which make up part of our program.  Our driving philosophy is to give children a childhood full of memories, growing and developing as nature intended, whilst talented knowledgeable adults ensure learning outcomes are being met.  Children’s wellbeing sits at the centre of our practice. ”

“We have torn apart the traditional ideas of routine and learning in an ECEC service, and created a space where children’s individual rhythms are respected and allowed to flow throughout the day. We have researched rest and eating for children, and created spaces in the centre where children can rest or eat at any time of the day.  High levels of investigation and research are always used as the foundation of change, along with our philosophy and values.  In return, we have created a space for children that is calm, responsive to their needs, and a truly magical place. Words do not describe our essence.”

“Children at Karana learn through play. In our service, it goes a step further and deeper than ‘trend’. Our children engage in open free play for the entire day. The doors to each of our three rooms are open to the outdoors, and to all children. Children can free flow and play in their chosen space in a multi-age community, building peer relationships and guiding one another.”

“As a living community, we constantly look at how the current talents and interests of our team can contribute to outcomes for children, and provide learning and mentoring for other team members. We aim to include all aspects of daily life in our program including fixing and mending items, sewing, researching, ordering, housekeeping, etc. Each person contributes their abilities.”

“Relationships with families are the underpinning foundation of everything. The high majority of our families are working professionals, with very busy lives. We do our best to relate to and understand the challenges our families face as they strive to maintain work/family life balances. Sometimes the challenge can be simply connecting with families in a sincere way when they are so busy. We look for the opportunities as often as possible to connect with families face to face, and encourage ways for them to have a relaxed flow to their routines.”