Our sector has lost a luminary – Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler of the University of Melbourne
As an advocate for early childhood education, Collette Tayler had influence across Australia and internationally. Professor Tayler passed away on 1 December, 2017. Below is an edited extract of a eulogy that Rhonda Livingstone, National Education Leader of ACECQA, delivered at her funeral.
“Collette’s contribution, reputation and achievements in children’s education and care are unparalleled.
Her work with the cross-national OECD Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care report elevated the importance of investing in quality early childhood education to national attention. It led to a commitment, for the very first time in Australia, to a national quality framework.
Collette made an unrivaled contribution to the development of the National Quality Framework.
Her insights, wisdom and contribution are reflected in many of the resources, tools and guidance that have supported the implementation of the framework. They’re resulting in quality outcomes for children and families.
Most recently, Collette held the Chair in Early Childhood Education and Care in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. There she continued to drive innovation, challenge and inform thinking, policies, pedagogy and practice, and promote and research quality.
One must acknowledge her work, commitment and dedication to the ground-breaking and internationally-recognised work on the E4Kids longitudinal study. This informs best practice curriculum, pedagogy, program and policy development across Australia, and will do so for decades to come. In the final report, Collette noted:
“There are few social justice issues more vital than building a better life for all children, and a more prosperous nation.”
And what a fantastic way to honour Collette, to invite donations to the University of Melbourne for the Collette Tayler Indigenous Education Scholarship. In recognition of her work in Indigenous communities, this scholarship is for current or prospective Indigenous Australian students of the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood or Early Years).
Collette’s legacy lives on.”
Photo courtesy of the University of Melbourne.