IF YOU are looking for excellence in daycare, look no further than Crystal Mawhinney.
After her nomination for the Excellence in Family Day Care Awards, Ms Mawhinney's business, Crystal's Little Gems Family Daycare in Grafton, has been crowned No.1 in the Coffs Harbour and North Coast region.
"I got nominated by at least one of my parents," Ms Mawhinney said.
"I was very excited. I've only been doing family daycare for just over a year so it was quite exciting and I wasn't really expecting it."
Born and raised in South Grafton, Ms Mawhinney wasn't sure what she wanted to do when she finished school.
"I didn't really plan on it when I left school but there was a traineeship available so I just took it and I ended up loving it," she said.
"I was working in a centre to start off with but after I got my diploma I thought I'd change it up a bit and see how family daycare went."
Ms Mawhinney said the atmosphere at a family daycare was different to a centre.
"It gets to be a lot more individual for the children and you get a lot better rapport with the families and the children because it's more of a close relationship," she said.
"It's more homely for the children."
Ms Mawhinney said the job was incredibly rewarding.
"You get to see the children develop right from when they are little to until they go off to school and you get to see their milestones being met," she said.
Cristie Harris from Clarence Family Day Care, which oversees the scheme that Ms Mawhinney operates under, said they were very proud when Crystal's Little Gems Family Daycare had been nominated.
"It was very exciting and then obviously when she won it was excellent," she said.
"It's a credit to Crystal and the environment that she has. It's beautiful and the kids are supported in their different learning activities.
"She's really supporting them in their learning and their interest rather than dictating what they should do.
"It's a very inclusive relationship that she has with her children."