Jay Weatherill dedicates Australia Day honours to ECEC educators
Former South Australian Premier, and CEO of Thrive by Five Jay Weatherill has dedicated his Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia honour to those who work with the country’s youngest citizens, including early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals.
“They’re working in the most important professions that set up children for the future and they tend not to be recognised for the importance of the work that they do,” he said, explaining the dedication as “the least he could do” to acknowledge the many who “don’t get the recognition they deserve”.
While the AO honour recognised the achievements Mr Weatherill made whilst in the role of Premier, it also acknowledged the extent to which he has lobbied for ECEC, most recently with his work with Thrive by Five, and its campaign to make ECEC both high quality and universally accessible.
“The way I regard this also is really encouragement to continue what I’m doing at the moment, to campaign for reform in the early years,” he added.
Speaking with the ABC, Mr Weatherill said he developed his passion for education reform while holding the position of education and early childhood minister in South Australia, where he “became exposed to this thinking about the way in which children’s brains develop in those first five years”.
“Once you understand that there are a million neural connections every second with high-quality experiences and the effect that has on the whole life trajectory for a child, you can’t unknow that.”
On holding this knowledge, Mr Weatherill said it became “a complete passion and priority”, one which he was determined to pursue once he left politics.
To read more about Mr Weatherill’s honour, as covered by the ABC, please see here.