At Little Scholars, we have four pillars that underpin everything that we do at Little Scholars – for our children, families, educators, and our community.

As part of our annual awards, we have four awards dedicated to those Little Scholars’ values – learn, grow, inspire and contribute. This year, while our award-winning educators certainly personify all four pillars, but with their unique special skills and achievements, we’ve declared one clear winner for each pillar.

Learn Pillar award winner

Ellissa Gunn

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Ellissa at our Ormeau Village campus was named winner of the Pillar Award in the Learn category because she stepped up to become a lead educator, and she is happy to keep learning from her peers and further her education in the sector.

  • How long have you been an educator?
    I’ve been an educator since I was 16, but even younger I was at my mum’s centre helping out wherever I could.
  • How long have you been with Little Scholars?
    I’ve been with Little Scholars for about 18 months, since Ormeau Village opened.
  • What made you want to become an educator?
    I think just having the inspiration of my mum being in that environment, seeing what she does, seeing how she helped shape the children, it made me want to do it as well. Just seeing how I could help children as well.
  • What is your favourite part about working with children?
    Just seeing them smile every day. I’m in the junior kindy room, so they’re not talking yet, but by the end of the year I can be having whole conversations with them, every word they say I just get the biggest smile on my face, because it’s something new they’ve learned.
  • What did winning the award mean to you?
    I’m always trying my absolute best to do the best possible work I can do, so it meant that someone else was seeing that, that it was appreciated. It’s made it feel worth it!
  • What do you like about working with Little Scholars?
    Just the support and having the creative freedom to do things that I couldn’t do at other places. Like taking them on Bush Kinder adventures and all these other fun things they get to do that they may not have the opportunity to do anywhere else. And everyone at head office as well, like Susan, Mel and Jae-them being so active in our centre, that’s something I really appreciate as well.
  • On the quick move from an assistant educator to lead educator, Ellissa says:
    The support I had helped me to grow so fast, because if I was somewhere else and didn’t have the support, I probably wouldn’t have become lead, but the support from everyone about what I could do, what I would have to do, really helped when I stepped up.

Ellissa is finishing up her studies with her Cert III, then she’ll be moving onto her Graduate Diploma.

From her submission: Ellissa has stepped up into her Lead role during last year and we have watched her grow from assistant to well-deserved Lead and take charge in her space, leading her colleagues while taking feedback on board and striving to excel.

Inspire Pillar award winner

Ella Stanton


Ella’s experience as a parent with a child at Little Scholars was actually the reason she became an educator herself! Ella is the recipient of an Inspire Little Scholars Pillar Award 2023.

  • How long have you been an educator, Ella?
    I have been an educator for four years now, and with Little Scholars since my placement when I began my certificate 3 at TAFE.
  • How did you start your career?
    I had been looking at Little Scholars as a centre for my daughter since I was pregnant and fell in love with it from the get-go. Since beginning to have my daughter at the centre, I saw the love and care that the educators gave the children. Working with children had always been on my agenda as I used to study to be a music teacher and knew I could do so much more as an early childhood educator to assist the children in excelling in all areas before beginning “big school.”
  • What did being recognised for the inspire award mean to you?
    The award completely blindsighted me as I turn up to work each day just to do my best for these little humans so to be recognised for my relationship with the children in my centre was so special to me and really instilled my role within the company and the importance I hold alongside my other educators in this industry.

Ella’s nomination

Ella is an educator with the Little Scholars Deception Bay campus, which recently was assessed Exceeding under the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care.

In Ella’s nomination to us, it said, “Ella is an inspiration for all in the Deception Bay community.  We had some outstanding feedback from the department through our assessment and rating process. Before the process even started, the assessor had mentioned the passion and authenticity observed in Ella’s interactions with our children, families and community. In the assessor’s words – ‘she could sit and watch Ella all day long.’  From one of Ella’s colleagues, ‘the educator she is, is who I aspire to be in my future teaching career. She is strong, but also so caring to each individual child.’

Contribute Pillar Award

Jackie Lowe

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Jackie is an educator at Little Scholars Ashmore campus. In her first year working for us, she was nominated for a Pillar award!

  • How long have you been in educator?
    I’ve been an educator on and off for about 20 years. I’ve been with Little Scholars for a year now.
  • Hey that’s pretty good to get recognised in your first year!
    I know it was so good!
  • What’s made you want to become an educator?
    Just from being young and starting off babysitting, which I loved, and then Year 12 back then we had work experience and that was just going to a centre and from that first day I knew what I wanted to do.  I just fell in love with it, and from then it was my goal to finish school and become an early childhood teacher
  • What is it now, 20 years on, that you still love about working in this sector?
    It’s just the love of being around children, i’m just being with a team of educators, and I missed that like when I went away from it and did my business, I just missed it so much. It’s just working children just gives me so much joy.
    All my children are older, are grown up, and it was just not a grandmother yet or anything it was just that feeling, it just going back into a centre and it just makes me so happy.
  • You won the Pillar Award for ‘contribute’ and you’re known as a ‘jack of all trades’, what do you do?
    No job is too big or too small! I do the bus, I’m the after-school care educator, I can work in the kitchen, I can listen to other team members, there’s nothing that I won’t try! That’s just who I am, when I’m needed, I’ll do anything to help the team out.
  • Especially your first year at Little Scholars, what did winning an award mean to you?
    My goodness, it was just so good, firstly I was surprised, but it was then good to know that the little things that i’m doing are noticed, I felt like, ‘Wow I am noticed!’ It just made me feel so happy knowing that all the jobs that I am doing people have recognised it, so yeah so then makes you feel like you are doing a great job!
    I love working for Little Scholars. It’s an amazing company, I’ve worked with the other centres before, Little Scholars is just amazing and I’m happy to be there and helping out.

Jackie’s nomination

Campus manager Elise said, ‘Jackie is our jack of all trades!  Jackie fits many hats at our campus. From driving the bus to being in the studios to going on vacation care, she wears her many hats with a smile on her face.  Her bubbly nature and willingness to help the team wherever needed is admirable.  We appreciate her dedication and consistent contribution to the campus.

Grow Pillar Award

Aleisha Relph

Aleisha Relph

Aleisha has remarkable attributes and we’re told her growth as an educator has been propelled by her enthusiasm to contribute, learn and inspire her team and go above and beyond not only for children, but families as well.

  • How long have you been an educator and with Little Scholars?

I have been an educator since the end of January 2020. Prior to this, I was a trainee at Little Scholars Nerang since September of 2018 studying my Diploma.

  • What made you want to enter the Early Childhood Education and Care sector?
    I became an educator as I love children, especially babies. I love to watch them grow and I love that I have an impact on that. I enjoy building relationships with them and watching how each individual child learns.
  • What did being recognised for the Grow award mean to you?
    I’m always trying to grow as an educator to better my experience and better myself, so to be recognised for this made me feel really appreciated and makes me want to continue with this career.

Aleisha’s nomination

Aleisha at our Nerang campus was named winner of the Pillar Award in the Grow category because she’s grown from a trainee at the campus just a few years ago to now full time lead educator, her gentle touch, her willingness to inspire and help others, she was a clear choice for campus manager Renee.

Aleisha is no stranger to accolades, she won Educator of the Year – Peer Choice twice previously. Little Scholars was her first employer in her early childhood education career!