Lennox Head family day care educator Hélène Gatland has been recognised as one of Australia’s finest early childhood educators.
Ms Gatland is the Lismore & Far North Coast regional winner in the 2019 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards.
Hélène is one of over 13,000 family day care educators who play a vital role in the lives of more than 126,000 children around the country.
Ms Gatland said she felt very honoured to be recognised in this way. ‘Huge thanks must go to all the families who nominated me and all the children who bring smiles and laughter into my days,’ she said.
An amazing way of combining both learning and fun
One of the parents who nominated Hélène for the award, Logan Telfer said that his family loves Hélène. ‘She has an amazing way of combining both learning and fun,’ he said.
‘Since our son has been in her care, his eating has dramatically improved, he is able to communicate his feelings more fully and he is growing significantly in his independent play – not to mention he is now speaking French!’
Ms Gatland has been operating her service Le Cocon Family Day Care, since shortly after arriving in Lennox Head with her husband Jimi in early 2015. But her passion for providing high quality child care began in her early years.
Gatland earned a degree in child psychology while living in her hometown of Toulouse, France and has since worked internationally as a child psychologist, teacher, child carer, nanny and educator.
Family Day Care Australia Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Paterson, said this year a record number of over 5,000 nominations were placed in the awards; testament to the growing recognition of the sector’s many and unique benefits in supporting children, families and communities across Australia.
‘To be chosen as a regional winner is not only a reward for Hélène’s dedication to providing quality early childhood education and care, it also underscores the relationship that Hélène has with the children in her care,’ said Mr Paterson. ‘The Excellence in Family Day Care Awards highlight the special contribution that educators like Hélène make to the lives of the children in their care,’ he said.
Ms Gatland is now in the running to be named as a national finalist for the national Family Day Care Educator of the Year Award. National finalists will be announced on 14 October 2019, with the National Educator of the Year to be announced at the Family Day Care Australia 2019 Excellence in Family Day Care Awards Gala Dinner on 23 November 2019 in Hobart.