Professor Emeritus Collette Tayler held the Chair in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) at the University of Melbourne. She completed a PhD in Education at the University of Western Australia; a Bachelor of Education at Edith Cowan University; a Diploma of Teaching at Mount Lawley College of Advanced Education, Perth; and a Teacher's Certificate (Primary) at Kelvin Grove Teachers College, Brisbane. After graduating as a teacher in 1969, Collette worked in different parts of Australia and overseas, consistently focusing on effective teaching, and young children's learning and development.
Professor Tayler passed away on Friday 1 December 2017, surrounded by family.
Professor Tayler was raised with her four siblings on a farm outside Beaudesert, Queensland. She attended a Brisbane boarding school to complete secondary education and then studied to become a teacher. She married Allan Tayler, an engineer, and they lived in different parts of Australia, raising two children to appreciate the importance of learning, respect for the natural environment and appreciation of human ingenuity.
A love of nature and realisation of the importance of education for life enabled Professor Tayler to develop a range of interests and skills that ensured economic independence, and work experiences in Australia and abroad. Over her lifetime, her respect for Indigenous women and elders grew as she observed their knowledge of environment, community orientation, and generosity toward fellow Australians, despite experiencing significant political and economic disadvantage.
Professor Tayler was a trusted advisor to the Department of Education and Training. Her expertise was sought through several projects, including the recent revision of the Victorian Early Learning and Development Framework and the Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan: Ready for Kinder, Ready for School, Ready for life.
Professor Tayler had a strong interest and commitment toward working with Indigenous communities to promote child and family learning, development and wellbeing. As an early childhood educator and researcher, her work addressed studies involving pre-birth to eight-year-old children and families. She led numerous research and development projects which addressed home, centre and school-based learning environments in culturally and linguistically diverse urban, regional and remote communities.
Some of Professor Tayler's more notable achievements include co-authoring the OECD Thematic Report on Early Childhood Education and Care across 20 countries, Starting Strong II: Early Childhood Education and Care (2006). This report influenced the direction of early childhood education and care reform in Australia from 2007-2016. She also led the E4Kids longitudinal study tracking the learning experiences of 2600 Australian 3 to 8-year-olds as they encountered different home, education and care programs, including school education. This study revealed the important influence of teaching to raise children's achievement outcomes, and the problem that many young children do not encounter high-quality early education programs that make a difference to later achievement and wellbeing.
In 2017, the University of Melbourne awarded Professor Tayler the title of Emeritus Professor in recognition of her career, and particularly during the last 10 years at the University of Melbourne as the Chair of Early Childhood and Care. Professor Taylers research has been disseminated extensively in important international journals and to the profession and will continue to have significant impact.
Through this gift, Professor Tayler wished to further recognise Indigenous Australians, and to support students in endeavours that promote excellent teaching of young Indigenous children, educational leadership and close collaboration with Indigenous leaders and/or communities, It is hoped that the gift can assist eligible students to research and develop educational experiences for young Indigenous children and their families. Advancing reconciliation, building understanding, and promoting the wellbeing of young Indigenous Australians is an overarching idea behind this gift.
The University of Melbourne produced a tribute video for Professor Tayler.
The following scholarship has been made possible by this generous contribution:
For complete listings of faculty-specific scholarships, please see individual faculty websites.