As an ECPN pedagogist my work with community, educators, families, and children is informed by my diverse life experiences and a grounding in artistic process. My childhood was spent in the Middle East, India, and Puerto Rico, which motivated me to travel and experience other cultures and ways of being in life. Living on a lighthouse on the west coast of Vancouver Island, working on a cattle ranch near Prince George, and travelling to remote areas of British Columbia have given me a deep sense of connection to place. I am filled with gratitude to live on the lands of the Coast Salish peoples, which I acknowledge were stolen from them.
I am a self-taught artist committed to collective thinking through engagement with aesthetic languages, working with children, educators, and families to find the extraordinary and the meaningful in everyday relations with each other and the world, including the more-than-human. Aesthetic languages, which communicate beyond words, can help us to explore and express ideas, solve problems, engage in creative, collective thinking, and reveal the unknown and previously unconsidered. Artistic processes mirror pedagogical processes that begin in the unknown and move us to find meaning in the everyday workings of life.
I am committed to questioning and resisting neoliberal, capitalist logics of extraction, mastery, and individualism. By disrupting dualistic, individualistic, and linear approaches to early childhood education we can create a dialogic space open to many stories of being. Through acknowledging that the neoliberal capitalist truth is only one of many, we become open to infinite possibilities and can create together new ways of thinking and being that respond to the shared conditions of our times and to the places where we live and work.
I acknowledge that my understanding of the world will always be incomplete. We can never know all that the world has to offer and cannot anticipate what will surface or what is to come. Engaging in collective thinking through aesthetic languages offers us a way of communicating and responding beyond neoliberal capitalist logics and oppositional ways of being in relation. By thinking and acting together, we can engage in endless possibilities that respond to the conditions and crises of our times, and begin to reconsider and recreate what it means to be human.
PacificCARE Childcare Resource and Referral
Shirley-Ann has worked in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Her diverse life experiences and background in visual arts combine in her commitment to shifting perspectives through aesthetic languages.