Less than a year after it rose from the ashes of a devastating fire, Kool Kidz Tarneit has been nominated for two national awards.

On June 5 last year, the centre was destroyed when a car, which was on fire, crashed into it during the early hours of the morning.

The re-built centre, which opened in February this year, has been named a finalist in two categories of the Australian Early Education and Care Awards.

The centre is a finalist in the Service of the Year section and the centre owner Samantha Johnson is a Director of the Year finalist.

“All the educators and families are very excited,” Mrs Johnson said.

Mrs Johnson with children Vihaan, Steven, Penelope, Caleb and Suhayla. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

“I am incredibly proud that the whole team has been recognised for the hard work they have put in over the past year. My team put the children’s and families needs above their own after the fire … in times where they were feeling down and uncertain about their future, they were consistent, supportive and loving to all the families and children.”

Mrs Johnston, who has worked in education for 16 years, said she loved walking into Kool Kidz Tarneit every day and feeling she was “part of a family”.

The state winners of the Australian Early Education and Care Awards will be announced on May 23 and the national winners on June 15. See earlyeducationandcareawards.com.au for details.