I am committed to thinking of early childhood spaces as pedagogical spaces and not only places of service. A pedagogical space is active and living rather than familiar and recognizable. It does not follow a particular child developmental practice, but it creates alternative narratives that are situational and respond to our current times. Pedagogical spaces embrace the willingness to create collective thinking and dialogue. One of the ways to think through this is by disrupting the prevalent image of the educator and who that image allows educators to be.
Early childhood education is a feminized field and therefore risks reproducing the traditional virtues that dictate who a woman is and can be. Historically, early childhood educators tended to be white, middle-class women who were viewed as producing well-behaved citizens. This image is still not seen as problematic or even noticed when it is related to colonialism, capitalism, and privilege because it is so deeply rooted in our practice (Meiners, 2002; Vintimilla, 2014). Even now, educators are viewed as patient, nurturing, kind, and loving females. Furthermore, developmentalism views children through predetermined notions of who they should be and what they should and should not be capable of doing (Langford, 2007; Meiners, 2002). These prevalent images reduce our experience and competency as educators by defining what early childhood education is and can do. I am committed to disrupting this image through supporting pedagogical spaces that allow us to think differently and challenge dominant discourses.
As an ECPN pedagogist, I commit to asking questions that respond to the specific conditions of our times—not to apply something preformulated but to create conditions that are with and of the current situation. I will ask: How can we work pedagogically together to unsettle the dominant discourses that are reproduced in everyday practice and disrupt the status quo of developmentalism?
I will walk with educators as we create conditions to slow down, pay attention, and work with intention. Together, we will think collectively and ask questions to expose, disrupt, and discover what it means to work as an educator in a pedagogical space that is active and living.
Langford, R. (2007). Who is a good early childhood educator? A critical study of differences within a universal professional identity in early childhood education preparation programs. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Educator,28(4), 333–352.
Meiners, E. (2002). Disengaging from the legacy of Lady Bountiful in teacher education classrooms. Gender and Education,14(1), 85–94.
Vintimilla, C. D. (2014). Neoliberal fun and happiness in early childhood education. Journal of Childhood Studies, 39(1), 79–87.
North Shore Neighbourhood House
Maria focuses her work from feminist perspectives and is excited to collaborate with the educators, children, and the North Shore community.