THREE DECADES of dedication to family day care has been recognised for one Gunnedah local with a national award.
Denise McKenzie from Gunnedah Family Day Care was bestowed the Perpetual Star Award in the 2021 Family Day Care excellence awards, which recognised her commitment to the profession.
Ms McKenzie said she was thrilled to not only win but just to be nominated.
"I'm so proud to have been awarded it," she said.
"It's so lovely to think that someone thinks that well of you."
What started off as helping friends with small children who needed to get back to work quickly turned into a lifelong commitment.
Ms McKenzie said her passion for childcare came from the need to provide quality care and education.
"There's such a need to provide secure and safe environments for children in a loving environment," she said.
She said the unique aspect of day care at home and in small groups set children up to put their best foot forward as they learn about the world.
"It's that perfect homestyle environment for babies and toddlers who need that small group and one consistent educator," she said.
"It becomes like a family atmosphere."
Family Day Care Australia chief executive Andrew Paterson said he was delighted to recognise the achievements of Ms Mckenzie and the positive impact she had on the children and families in the local community.
"Our Star Award winners showcase the incredible talent and wisdom within our sector," he said.
"The high-quality education and care and holistic learning environments nurtured by coordinators like Denise is what makes family day care so unique, and is the reason why so many families chose family day care," he said.
After working as an educator for 17 years, Ms McKenzie now enjoys a coordinator role where she offers her knowledge.
Ms McKenzie's efforts will be officially awarded at the Family Day Care conference in Canberra next year.