I was born and raised in Honduras, moving to the United States in 2005. My lifelong passion for early childhood education began while I was working in a centre in Washington, DC. Later, when my family settled in Texas, I attended San Antonio College and got an associate degree in early childhood education. As a double immigrant who lives with longing for my family, language and culture, I know firsthand what it means to not fit in, to be treated with suspicion and regarded as “other” (Ahmed, 2007). These experiences have shaped my longtime commitment to social justice, within which I seek to disrupt and challenge dominant discourses, such as developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), that enforce the normalization of certain ways of knowing and being and marginalize others (Pacini- Ketchabaw et al., 2015; Taylor & Giugni, 2012). Grounded in developmental psychology, DAP promotes standardized practices that assume and reinforce a universal path for human development. Because developmental psychology was established through Euro-Western science and research on a small sector of the population, with the results assumed to apply to everyone, DAP privileges dominant- culture children (Burman, 2017). I see my pedagogist role as supporting educators to live their contextualized ECE practices in ways that might allow new and different stories to emerge that can transform how we collectively relate with one another.
This commitment manifests in my pedagogist work through the discussions I have with educators, the curriculum inquiries we cocreate with children and the various ways our collective inquiries are shared with others. Creating conditions to engage with the process of pedagogical narration is fundamental to this work. Through the process of pedagogical narration, we—educators, children, families, community members—can critically reflect on our practices in the classroom, including how particular discourses shape our work (Pacini-Ketchabaw et al., 2015). Together we can explore where the dominant views and understandings that shape our actions came from. We can consider who benefits from these views, who is marginalized through them, and how these processes relate to the vision of living and learning together (Government of British Columbia, 2019) that we hope to make possible in the classroom. By lingering in collaboration with these questions and their possible answers and actively experimenting in our curriculum-making processes, we can coconstruct/reconstruct our knowledge, actions and ECE spaces. While staying with the challenges that living with differences brings is not easy work, and at times is unfamiliar or uncomfortable, it is required of education. My hope is to cocreate spaces where humans and more-than-humans can, as Donna Haraway states, "flourish together in difference without the telos of a final peace" (as cited in Taylor & Giugni, 2012, p. 117).
Ahmed, S. (2007). A phenomenology of whiteness. Feminist Theory, 8(2), 149–168.
Burman, E. (2017). Deconstructing developmental psychology. Routledge.
Government of British Columbia. (2019). BC early learning framework.
Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., Nxumalo, F., Kocher, L., Elliot, E., & Sanchez, A. (2015). Journeys: Reconceptualizing early childhood practices through pedagogical narration. University of Toronto Press.
Taylor, A., & Giugni, M. (2012). Common worlds: Reconceptualising inclusion in early childhood communities. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 13(2), 108–118.
YMCA of Northern BC Child Care Resource and Referral
Born and raised in Honduras, Gloria has been in the early childhood field for 15 years. She is committed to social justice for humans and nonhumans.