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Goodstarter Spotlight: Unwavering passion and dedication from our 2023 Goodstarter of the Year

Getting to know Centre Director Ranjitha Prema Vasavan, winner of the 2023 Goodstart Goodies National Goodstarter of the Year Award.

Goodstart stories

Article by Emily Boland

Goodstart is proud to recognise the individuals in our community whose devotion, commitment and excitement for early learning help us give children the best possible start in their first five years. Ranjitha Prema Vasavan, our 2023 Goodstarter of the Year, embodies all of these qualities and more.

As a Centre Director, Ranjitha’s dedication, passion and excellent leadership skills shine through everything she does. She inspires and motivates her team at Goodstart Endeavour Hills, Barnsley Drive through regular critical thinking, collaboration and reflection.

Winning both 2023 Goodstarter of the Year (VIC East) and National Goodstarter of the Year, judges commended Ranjitha for her extraordinary mentoring and guidance as standout leadership qualities. She actively creates community opportunities, forging open and trusting relationships. Ranjitha is valued by her centre and community, bringing resilience to her role even on the most challenging days.

Ranjitha’s influence extends beyond her centre, mentoring teams from other centres in her Goodstart community.

Reflecting on her journey, Ranjitha said she is particularly proud of her centre’s approach over 2023 with a strong focus on building on relationships with families, community and supporting the best outcomes for children.

“The year was filled with exciting and rewarding moments. First and foremost, our team’s commitment to providing an exceptional learning environment for the children has been a standout achievement,” Ranjitha said. 

“We successfully implemented innovative educational programs that not only fostered cognitive development but also focused on the social and emotional wellbeing of the children. Our efforts to create a holistic learning experience have been met with positive feedback from both parents and our dedicated staff.” 

“Furthermore, I take pride in our community engagement initiatives. This year, we strengthened our ties with the local community through various outreach programs and partnerships. Building a sense of community is crucial, especially in a not-for-profit organisation, and I’m delighted with the positive impact we’ve had beyond the walls of our centre.”

“Overall, these achievements reflect our unwavering commitment to the mission of Goodstart Early Learning. It’s not just about meeting educational standards but going above and beyond to create a nurturing, inclusive and enriching experience for every child in our care.”

Ranjitha’s approach has not only helped to improve the performance of the centre, but also individual team members.

Ranjitha takes the time to get to know her team, understand their goals and aspirations and nurture them to succeed. She is always available to share ideas, listen and share her knowledge in centre and with others in her community through mentorship – including mentoring three new centre directors recently. She is an integral part of her centre and community.

Ranjitha shares her career journey at Goodstart and what it’s meant to be named ‘Goodstarter of the Year’

Tell us about your journey since joining Goodstart?

Ranjitha: I embarked on my journey with Goodstart in 2018 as a Senior Educator, and the experience has been nothing short of transformative. During my time at Goodstart Carrum Downs Frankston - Dandenong Road, I was eager to adapt to Goodstart’s high standards. I embraced each day as an opportunity to learn from my fellow Goodstarters, fostering a mindset of continuous improvement. From here I’ve taken on opportunities and moved into leadership roles (Health and Safety Champion and Healthy Achievement Officer) becoming Assistant Centre Director at Goodstart Hampton Park – Somerville Road in 2020. In this position I had the privilege of leading a team of passionate educators. Confident in my skills and ready for the next chapter, I applied for and secured the role of Centre Director in 2021. My journey then lead me to my Centre Director role at Goodstart Rowville - Murrindal Drive and then to Goodstart Endeavour Hills, Barnsley Drivewhere I am dedicated to fostering a positive and nurturing environment for both my team and the children in our care. 

In a new chapter of growth, I was given the opportunity to mentor new Centre Directors joining the Goodstart team. This experience not only allowed me to share my knowledge but also provided a platform for me to learn new skills in a different environment. It’s been a rewarding journey, and I continue to expand my knowledge while contributing to the onboarding and development of fellow Goodstart leaders. My journey, from a Senior Educator to a Centre Director, underscores the dynamic and supportive culture that defines Goodstart.

Tell us what it meant to be named Goodstarter of the Year?
Ranjitha: Winning the Goodies award for Goodstarter of the Year is truly an honor, and it holds great significance for me both personally and professionally. It’s an incredibly meaningful achievement for me. It’s a validation of the passion and dedication I bring to my role as the Centre Director at Goodstart Early Learning. This recognition is a testament to the collective efforts of our team and the positive impact we strive to make in the lives of children and families in our community.

Being part of a not-for-profit organisation like Goodstart Early Learning, where our primary focus is on providing early childhood education, makes this award even more special. It reaffirms our commitment to creating a nurturing and supportive environment for children’s development.

Tell us about the impact of this award for the team?

Ranjitha: This award isn’t just a personal triumph; it’s a celebration of the entire team’s hard work and our shared commitment to making a difference in the lives of the children we care for. It inspires us to continue our mission of providing high quality early learning experiences and fostering a positive and inclusive atmosphere within our Centre.

What do you love about working at Goodstart?

Ranjitha: Being a Goodstarter goes beyond a job; it’s a calling. The opportunity to contribute to the future of these young learners, to create a positive impact in our community, and to continuously strive for excellence in early childhood education is what makes this role so fulfilling for me. I am genuinely grateful for the chance to be part of this inspiring journey at Goodstart Early Learning.

Check out Ranjitha’s acceptance speech after learning she was named Goodstarter of the Year!

Ranjitha was on annual leave overseas and unable to attend National Goodies, but it didn't stop her from taking a call from our CEO Ros Baxter and Deputy CEO Jeff Harvie who shared the great news.

The National Goodies Program is a reward and recognition program to celebrate Goodstart’s focus on shaping young lives and enriching the communities in which we live and work.    

Learn more about the Goodies here.  

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