FROM early on in her career in childcare, Sophie Grainger knew she'd found a career she truly loved, and her passion has been rewarded by being named a finalist in the Australian Family Early Education and Care Awards.
Sophie runs her centre Sophie's Learning Tree from her home under the auspices of Clarence Family Daycare. She was nominated by one of her parents, and said she was overwhelmed to be recognised.
"There are more than 1700 nominations every year, and I'm one of the final 12, so it was a big shock. I was just over the moon," she said.
"I'm nominated in the Rising Star category because I think it recognises your progression through the childcare industry."
Sophie said that when she branched out into her own centre, most of the spots she had available were already taken before she opened, and any vacancies are filled in the day, such is the demand for childcare in the area.
Sophie, who previously worked for five years at a local centre, has completed her certificate and diploma training, and is now studying for her teaching qualifications through university.
Her nominator Lisa Beadman says that she was a worthy nominee because Sophie treats all her kids like they are here own.
"The family welcome all the kids into their house, and you wouldn't want to send your children anywhere else but here," she said.
"It is a real family daycare."
The state winners are announced on May 23 and are competing for a share in $50,000 in prizes.