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An early childhood program improving the lives of children in Benalla is being recognised and celebrated as being among the state’s best.

State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes recently announced Tomorrow Today’s PEEP program as one of 20 Victorian Early Years Awards finalists.

“I wish to congratulate our fantastic early childhood professionals and programs, including every one of those recognised as finalists in this year’s Victorian Early Years Awards,” Ms Symes said.

“Every day, caring and passionate early childhood professionals and services work tirelessly in Benalla to help local families and children thrive and get the most out of their early education. Their dedicated work inspires all of us.”

PEEP or Parents Early Education Partnership is being recognised for its outstanding contributions to the early childhood education sector across the state.

Originating from the United Kingdom it is specifically designed for families experiencing disadvantage to support them as their child’s first and most important educator.

Parents or carers commit to attending at least one term of a weekly facilitated playgroup, in which songs, rhymes, stories and creative play are used to promote pre-literacy and numeracy skills.

Children and parents also use this opportunity to socialise with other families.

The program is a collaborative, community effort, with more than 60 partners, referrers and volunteers playing a role in its creation and delivery.

During 2018, 15 sessions were delivered per week, attended by 222 families with 290 children.

Now in its 14th year, the Victorian Early Years Awards recognise the crucial work of early childhood professionals in helping young children to learn and thrive.

Award winners in each category will receive up to $15 000 to continue their exceptional work in kindergarten services, schools, local councils, maternal child and health services and other early years organisations across the state.

The awards celebrate the achievements and commitment of early childhood professionals across seven award categories, including supporting parents and the early childhood teacher of the year.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 22, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

For more details on this year’s finalists, visit