HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards 2021 finalists announced

Lilyfield ELC

Ten extraordinary early childhood educators and services were today announced as finalists in the 2021 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards.

Nominees from New South Wales dominated across all categories, with finalist whose achievements included an innovative sustainability education program, outstanding learning support for children in a rural community with disabilities and the creation of a culturally safe learning space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey paid tribute to all finalists for their outstanding leadership and commitment to creating inclusive learning environments for children during difficult times.

“I think the global pandemic has resulted in Australians recognising the critical work our early childhood educators and carers do every day. They’re essential to keeping our economy strong, and for ensuring Australia continues to have a bright future,” Ms Blakey said.

“Congratulations to all nominees and finalists for their continued dedication to supporting the next generation of young Australians. HESTA is privileged to help share their stories and recognise their important work.”

‘ME’ CEO Adam Crane said the ME bank was proud to recognise the achievements of these critical educators and services as a longstanding supporter of the Awards.

“All of these finalists are guiding Australia’s future. They are giving our children the best chance of fulfilling their potential. ME is so proud to recognise their exceptional achievements today,” Mr Crane said.

The 2021 finalists are:


  • Lilyfield Early Learning Centre, Lilyfield NSW
  • KU West Pymble Preschool, KU Children’s Services, West Pymble NSW
  • KU Isobel Pulsford Memorial Preschool Team, KU Children’s Services, Epping NSW


  • Karen Roberts, City of Canterbury Bankstown, Canterbury-Bankstown NSW
  • Michelle Gujer, Gowrie Victoria, Broadmeadows VIC
  • Jackie Staudinger, KU Children’s Services, Macquarie Fields NSW
  • Natalie Cordukes, Paddington Children’s Centre (Uniting), Paddington NSW


  • Jumbunna Community Preschool and Early Intervention Centre, Casino NSW
  • Forbes Preschool, Forbes NSW
  • Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, Gunnedah NSW

Winners will be revealed on 7 September 2021 in Brisbane as part of the Early Childhood Australia National Conference.

For more information about the Awards and the details of the finalists, visit HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards.

Image: Lilyfield ELC, Lilyfield NSW