The ECPN Faculty Pedagogist

ECPN Post-secondary Institution (PSI) faculty pedagogists are teaching faculty from post-secondary institutions working alongside practicum students and mentor educators within childcare centres/agencies. Faculty pedagogists offer meaningful and professional learning opportunities that help students feel welcome and valued in the centres where they are engaged in their practicum experience. As well, faculty pedagogists work with educators and students in their centres to engage collectively and think deeply in pedagogical dialogue while responding to current and ongoing conditions. Faculty pedagogists will spend time to create the conditions to develop dedicated centres for practicum placements for students.

ECPN Outcomes / Intentions

For an overview, please see the article from the ECEBC The Early Childhood Educator Journal (Winter, 2020), titled Pedagogists and the Early Childhood Pedagogy Network written by ECPN co-directors.

Both internal and external evaluations will be conducted. There will be opportunities (e.g., through discussion groups, survey feedback) to hear from participating educators, as well as from practicum students’, families and communities they work with, about their experiences and learnings.

The ECPN is committed to following all rules, regulations and guidelines concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the broader CDC guidelines PSI pedagogists will consider the rules, regulations and guidelines as set by each post-secondary institution and centre when determining how to engage with each specific site.

Given the current CDC guidelines (July 8, 2020) to "minimize the number of additional adults entering the centre, unless that person is providing care and/or supporting inclusion of a child in care (e.g. supportive child care assistants, speech-language pathologist, etc.)", in-person work with programs is not possible. However, until the CDC guidelines change, the ECPN has put in place processes for pedagogists to work with educators:

  • virtual meetings (e.g., through Zoom), one-on-one, with teams 
  • virtually joining into a program (e.g., bringing pedagogist via zoom to 'observe' the program)
  • virtually running learning circles with an early years program team or their whole early years hub
  • meeting in person with educators only, outdoors with social distancing, as per group size guidelines (e.g., currently, that is no larger than a small group of 2 to 6)
  • dialogue and information sharing via email 
  • asynchronous discussion groups on the Hub for pedagogists' cluster of programs

The Role of All Pedagogists

ECPN pedagogists participate in an intensive education process on an ongoing basis. Becoming a pedagogist takes time. ECPN pedagogists have degrees in early childhood education, or a related field, and a minimum of 3 years of experience working in a leadership role (e.g., education director, lead teacher, practicum supervisor, teaching faculty).

The ECPN understands that educators working with pedagogists have different interests, experiences, understandings and educational philosophies. Pedagogists work to support collaborative thinking and the creation of a shared pedagogical project - which does not mean everyone thinking the same or doing the same work. Pedagogists endeavor to support educators' thinking with the BC Early Learning Framework in ways that connect to the context of their work.

All pedagogists do not work in the same capacity as educators (i.e., pedagogists are not employees of the childcare centre in which they work, nor are they counted in the centre's ratio calculation). Their role is also different from the role of a supported child development consultant. While pedagogists attend to the creation of pedagogical spaces and the making of collective curricula through pedagogical narrations within early childhood programs, they do not conduct individual assessments of children or educators. For examples of inquiry projects, please see: http://commonworlds.net/childrens-relations-with-place/facetiming-common-worlds/ and https://movingpedagogies.blog.ryerson.ca/

In the current phase of the pedagogist rollout, the intention is for pedagogists to work with programs from September 2020 to June 2021. For those programs that are working with a faculty pedagogist, project work may pause in the mid-later spring, until the next school year begins.

A pedagogist's work is about collective curriculum engagement, critical thinking, and fostering curiosity. It is not about the individual assessment of children or educators.

The majority of a pedagogist's work is supporting the educators within a cluster of early years programs, or what we refer to as their early years hub. Generally, this involves regularly meeting with educators in program, alongside their work with children.

Pedagogists work with / in clusters / early years hubs. Pedagogists might work with a cluster of programs spread out over a large geographic area, are all located within one centre/institution, or something in-between those two ends of the spectrum. The specific configuration of the pedagogist's cluster / hub will shape the specific engagements with the centre/organization/program.

Pedagogists visit programs regularly (e.g., once a week, every two weeks) to work with educators and children on a pedagogical project / inquiry, to think together about curriculum and pedagogy, to think with educators about their engagement with the BC Early Learning Framework.

Pedagogists create opportunities for educators in their early years hub / cluster to think together (e.g., online discussion group, monthly learning circle gatherings).

Pedagogists share resources (e.g., an article to read, a video to watch, a podcast to listen to) and ideas (e.g., introduce a new material, suggest a way to organize the physical space, reflections on a visit) with the educators in their early years hub/cluster. These resources and ideas connect with the interests / questions / project / desires of the whole hub and/or each program.

Inquiries can be understood as focused pedagogical projects with intentional questions/curiosities/ interests. For example, inquiries might focus on:

  • a particular material (e.g., paint, clay, charcoal, blocks),
  • a particular place (e.g., an outdoor space, a place in the community, a spot on campus),
  • a particular activity (e.g., working with textiles, walking/tracking, dance),
  • particular relationships (e.g., with raccoons, with deer, with trees),
  • particular ECE routines and practices (e.g., snack / lunchtime, circle time, indoor / outdoor transitions (the cloakroom), nap time, educator break time)
  • or a particular question (e.g., What are our images of the child / educator / family? How do we understand and practice care? What do the conditions of our times demand of us as educators?).

Please see the BC Early Learning Framework – Section Three – Living and Learning Together for a discussion of inquiry work.

The practice of documenting children's learning, often called pedagogical documentation or learning stories, is commonplace in many childcare centres in various places, including New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Italy and cities in North America. The BC Early Learning Framework describes pedagogical narrations as "the process of noticing and collecting moments from daily practice and sharing these with colleagues, children, and families to make children's learning processes and inquiries, as well as educators' pedagogical choices, visible and open to interpretation and reflection" (p. 3).

ECPN pedagogists work with educators to engage with pedagogical narrations not as an individual assessment, but as a critically reflective process integral to living collective curriculum inquiries. Pedagogists will work with each of the program/centre/classroom's privacy protocols regarding documentation, including protocols for making, storing, and sharing documentation.

Pedagogists lead a pedagogical project with educators and children, create opportunities for dialogue with their early years hub / cluster, and share resources/ideas that connect with the interests, questions, project, and desires of the whole hub / each program. Pedagogical narrations play an important role in this work.

Because a pedagogist engages in collective curriculum inquiries, rather than the individual assessment of children or educators, they create pedagogical narrations with careful pedagogical and curricular intentions.