Honouring an advocate of childhood education

"There are few social justice issues more vital than building a better life for all children, and a more prosperous nation."

In one of her final academic reports, the late Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler brought the critical importance of children to the fore.

Collette passed away on 1 December 2017, but her life's work to improve early childhood education and policy ensures generations to come will reap the benefits of her efforts.

She was highly regarded by early childhood educators, academics and governments alike. Her career spanned teaching across Australia and internationally, from working alongside Aboriginal communities and women elders, to academia at its highest levels.

For these reasons, it is fitting in 2018 that the Victorian Early Years Awards introduces an award in honour of Collette's dedication to quality outcomes for children.

The Emeritus Professor Collette Tayler Excellence in Educational Leadership Award recognises an early childhood service or early years management organisation that has significantly improved learning and teaching practices over the past 18 months.

"These awards are an opportunity to recognise great service and say thanks," said Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos, who established the new award category in Collette's memory.

"We're proud to pay tribute to Collette Tayler by naming an award in her honour – she was a fierce advocate of early education and the positive impact of her work continues to be felt."

The Victorian Honour Roll of Women inductee spent the last decade of her life at the University of Melbourne providing new academic direction as the chair of early childhood and care. She was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor in 2017 in recognition of her invaluable work and dedication during her career.

Additionally, her work alongside Aboriginal communities and her passion to influence positive change in these areas saw a scholarship established in her name through the University of Melbourne.

Collette will be remembered for her insight, vision and strong leadership amongst a body of work that will continue to have far-reaching impacts in Victoria for years to come.

To support her legacy through the Early Years Awards, Minister Mikakos added: "I encourage everyone to submit a nomination and share your story, whether it's your own or someone you know."

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