Her love for children has earned Goulburn early childhood educator Louise Hill a regional award for excellence in family day care for the third time.
Louise - who has been a family day carer for nearly 30 years - was named the Regional Educator Winner for Goulburn and the Southern Tablelands in the 2020 Family Day Care Australia's Excellence in Family Day Care Awards. She also received this award in 2018 and 2019.
The parents of the children she looks after nominated her.
"I feel that's quite a nice honour to have," Louise said. "It acknowledges they like what I'm doing with their children."
Louise is registered with Goulburn Family Day Care. She works from her Goulburn home, but operates under the same regulations as a day care centre. Instead of large groups, however, she only has four children under the age of five, and three school children.
"I just love the children that I look after," Louise said. "I treat all the children like they're my own, which is what family day care is all about."
She has 15 children registered with her; the youngest is 14 months, and the oldest is 12 years old.
"I love watching them grow up, and I love seeing them when they go to school," Louise said. "When they start talking," she added, "they come out with the weirdest sayings."
Louise has cared for children for nearly 29 years. During that time, she has seen some of her former charges return as adults with kids of their own. She looked after the mother and aunt of one child she looks after now, for instance.
"I never really lose touch with them," Louise said. "A lot of my children that I have at the moment have older siblings that are at school. I still look after the older siblings before and after school."
Louise is one of more than 13,000 family day care educators who look after more than 108,000 children around the country.
Celebrating its ninth year, the 2020 Family Day Care Australia's Excellence in Family Day Care Awards highlights the incredible work of family day care educators and the invaluable contributions they make to the lives of children, families and communities. This year, 5600 carers were nominated.
Family Day Care Australia Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Paterson, said: "It is a testament to the incredible work coming out of our sector from educators like Louise. They have gone above and beyond to nurture and support the children in their care, and we are thrilled to recognise their achievements," said Mr Paterson.
The awards also celebrate the unique strengths of family day care and how strong relationships between educators and children, and a nurturing home learning environment, make family day care the natural choice for quality early childhood education and care.
"Family day care provides educators with an opportunity like no other, to form meaningful bonds with the children they care for and tailor their learning environment according to each child's needs and interests," Mr Paterson said.
Louise is in the running to be a national finalist for the 2020 National Family Day Care Educator of the Year Award.
National finalists will be announced on December 7. The 2020 National Family Day Care Educator of the Year Award will be announced at the Gala Dinner on February 27 2021.