Tumut Preschool’s Hannah Goldspink is up for a national award and $10,000 in prize money, in recognition of her excellent work at the preschool.
She has been nominated for the Outstanding Young Graduate award at the HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards, one of only two nominees nationwide.
Tumut Preschool Service Manager Tess Herring applied for Ms Goldspink’s nomination, highlighting her leadership role in moving the preschool from an educator-focused approach to a child-focused approach.
She said Ms Goldspink was instrumental in the preschool attaining its first ‘Exceeding National Quality’ rating in 2015.
“Hannah was a key educator in our very difficult journey along the quality improvement process,” she said.
“Hannah has the ability to share ideas and identify issues in a way that includes other staff in the solution or outcome.
“She will research areas of early childhood education in her own time, looking for better ways of doing things and identifying possible ideas with the rest of the team. She has embraced change, and will find a way for new ideas or solutions to work, rather than reasons why they can’t.”
Ms Goldspink, who didn’t know the preschool was nominating her for the award, said she was honoured to be recognised by her peers.
“I think it’s just amazing that [Mrs Herring] has taken the time and effort to recognise my everyday work. I don’t feel like I’ve done something major, it’s just what I show up and do at work every day,” she said.
“I’m absolutely stoked about it all. I didn’t know that I had been nominated, so being secretly nominated is a big deal. Having people take the time to acknowledge my everyday work is amazing, and then to be made a finalist on top of that is just unreal.”
Ms Goldspink has worked at Tumut Preschool since 2013, after graduating from the University of Canberra.
She said if she wins she plans to use the prize money to increase the preschool’s connection with local Indigenous culture.
“A lot of what I’ve worked on has been about trying to strengthen those connections between the preschool and the aboriginal community, so I’d like to do a little more training in that,” she said.
“I’ve found working with aboriginal families and aboriginal staff members that they want to teach the children about their culture but it’s kind of been lost – their grandparents may have passed away for example and they can’t access their culture. But it’s lost but not forgotten, so I’d like to help them to reconnect.”
Mrs Herring said Ms Goldspink’s ability to work with the individual needs of children in her care, ensuring each child gets the most out of their time in preschool regardless of their specific context, is exemplary.
“Hannah has a beautiful and gentle approach with the children and their families and is very much loved by her young learners. Her peers clamber to work in her room and she has taken on a leadership role amongst them,” she said.
“She is a positive role model who always goes the extra mile for her children and team mates. One of the strongest attributes of Hannah’s professional approach is her capacity to develop strong, deep and caring connections with the children and their family members in her care. In over 3 years Hannah has always demonstrated patience, kindness and consistency.”
The HESTA Early Childhood Education and Care Awards will take place on October 7 in Darwin.
HESTA is the health and community services industry super fund. The event is sponsored by ME Bank, which is created and owned by industry super funds including HESTA.
There are three award categories, the Advancing Pedagogy and Practice Award, the Outstanding Young Graduate Award, and the Excellence in Building Inclusion Award.
Ms Goldpink is competing against Rachel Sydir from Penrith in her category.