Exciting News! - Australia Day Honours 2012
Jan Millikan, founder of the Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange (REAIE) has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal! This is exciting news for early childhood education and for REAIE! Congratulations to Jan on this most exceptional and deserved award and recognition.
The Australia Day 2012 Honours List was announced on Thursday 26 January 2012 by the Governor-General. The Honours List provides national and formal recognition for approximately 690 Australians across the nation who have made a significant difference to their communities. Our Australian honours system is internationally renowned and respected. Australia’s distinctive honours system began in 1975 with the creation of the Order of Australia, to recognise service to the nation or humanity.
Australian honours are unique in that they were designed for the community to make nominations. The Australian honours system is free of patronage or political influence. Anyone can nominate an Australian citizen for an honour. Jan was nominated for this award by the REAIE Committee.
Jan has a long and impressive history in the early childhood field, in diverse roles and capacities.
In 1990, when ‘Time’ magazine nominated the Reggio Emilia Early Childhood Centres as the ‘Best Kindergartens in the World’, requests started for visits to Reggio Emilia, from countries all over the world, (beginning with the United States of America) to both experience, and to study the remarkable capabilities and competence being exhibited by pre-school children, through the application of the philosophies and practices in these early childhood settings. This prompted Jan to investigate further, leading to her visiting the Pre-Schools and Infant Toddler Centres of Reggio Emilia, Italy with a group from the USA in 1990. The impact of this visit inspired Jan to share the amazing work of the Reggio Emilia schools with educational colleagues in Australia.
Since then and in a variety of ways, Jan has been instrumental in enabling Australian educators to explore the educational project of Reggio Emilia; willingly sharing her knowledge for the betterment of Australian children and their families which has led to changing the face of Early Childhood in Australia.
Jan is a talented leader in that she encourages educators to reflect on their practice through provocation, challenging them to see beyond their current situation to the potential of all children and enabling them to create possibilities which have not previously been imagined for the education of young children.
Upon receiving the OAM Jan has expressed: “My thanks to the REAIE committee for putting my name forward for this significant award. I have been so fortunate to have been able to learn from, and with, so many wonderful educators who showed enormous courage, in not only talking about change, but in making it a reality in their work with and for children. I have been quite overwhelmed by all the messages of congratulation received, and my big hope now is that the award may be able to open new doors for REAIE in realising the vision and mission of the organisation and in advocating for the rights of all our children.”