Note to the World

By Amanda Gillmore

Communication has always been a struggle for me- whether it is communication on paper, in an email, a text message or I verbally need to express myself- I always hesitate and/or second guess myself. You wouldn’t think that if you met me! But, it stems from my childhood and is something that I am working on- it’s not an easy task but working with a Counsellor has helped me and given me the tools to work through this barrier.

At first when I saw the requirements for this weeks’ course content, I immediately became uncomfortable. My course instructor asked us to “create a hand-written/ typed/ or video recorded note to a friend/ family member/ colleague/ mentor/ classmate.” <Insert anxiety NOW.> But, after a cup of Earl Grey Tea and reminding myself to consider this ‘a brief note to invite conversation’, I pressed through. I started off by reading the article ‘Your Image of the Child’ by Malaguzzi (1993). And, here is my Note to the World:

Dear Mentor,

I sincerely appreciate how you have guided me so far through my practicum experience and showing me that “the ability to enjoy relationships and work together is very important” (Malaguzzi, 1993, p.2). Over the last few weeks we have had numerous heart to heart conversations about the importance of child-child relationships, child-educator relationships and educator-educator relationships. I recently read an article in one of my ECEC courses called: ‘Your Image of the Child: Where Teaching Begins’ written by Loris Malaguzzi. I would kindly like to share with you a passage that resonated with me:

“When you enter the school in the morning, you carry with you pieces of your life — your happiness, your sadness, your hopes, your pleasures, the stresses from your life. You never come in an isolated way; you always come with pieces of the world attached to you. So the meetings that we have are always contaminated with the experiences that we bring with us.” (Malaguzzi, 1993, p.2)

Each morning I invite you and the other educators to enter a safe heart space and each ask yourself what pieces of your life are attached to you as you enter the school. This passage I have shared with you has made me more aware and mindful how I want to start each day- whether I will be at my practicum site, starting one of my ECEC online courses or starting my morning rituals at home. I hope sharing this will do the same for you.



Malaguzzi, L. (1993). Your image of the child: Where teaching begins. Exchange (3).

Raised by a River

By Heather Wilson

Soo River, Whistler, BC

After watching the TED talk video, Reclaiming the Honourable Harvest by Robin Kimmerer (2012), I could not stop thinking about a statement she made. She said, ‘… a boy was raised by a river.’ And further questioned if there were two meanings in that statement – was the boy near or reared by a river? Now that I have reflected on that statement, with my own knowledge and experience, I would say that ‘a boy raised by a river’ was just as near it, as he was reared by it. If the boy had the time and freedom to wander and wonder… Where would the boy go to play? Where would he go when he was bored? Where would he want to take his friends? Where would he go to explore? Where would he go for adventure? Where would he go when his soul needed soothing? To the river. 

My role as an ECE would be to create time and space for children to become familiar with the land. There is much excitement in the novel experiences, but there is depth, layers and the richness of the child’s own knowledge when they are in a familiar place. Only once this familiarity is there, do children begin to connect with the land, when they are influenced, loved, and raised by that space. In the Early Learning Framework [ELF] (Government of BC, 2019) there is reference to this idea, “Providing time, space, and materials rich with possibilities for experimenting, imagining, and transforming allows children to create and explore…” (p. 75). 

There is depth to these questions once you start unpacking them. My role as an ECE seems clear, but what challenges are we facing? Children come from many different families and thus different cultures and perspectives, how do we connect children who would prefer to be connected to a screen or game? When it comes to Infants and Toddlers, how do we explain to families that they are capable of walking a trail, exploring a forest/beach/field/rocks/dirt and connecting with it meaningfully?

Robin Kimmerer spoke and wrote beautifully, and I really appreciate her nine responses to the gifts of the earth:

  1. Never take the first one.
  2. Ask for permission.
  3. Listen.
  4. Take only what you need.
  5. Use everything you take.
  6. Minimize harm.
  7. Be grateful.
  8. Share.
  9. Reciprocate.

I am wondering how Kimmerer’s nine responses to the gifts of the earth invite me to think with/about the pathway “Every child is a gift” (Government of BC, 2019, p.66) as offered in the ELF’s Living Inquiry Well-being and Belonging? How might we meet and receive children as gifts? How might we give meaning to the statement, “every child is a gift?” in our daily encounters with children? How might we show our love, appreciation and responsibility to the children in our care?


Government of British Columbia. (2019). British Columbia early learning framework (2nd ed.). Victoria: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Children and Family Development, & British Columbia Early Learning Advisory Group.

Tedx. (2012, August 18). Reclaiming the Honorable Harvest: Robin Kimmerer . YouTube.

Sensorial Journey to the Great Outdoors

By RoseMary Antony

Growing up in the Middle East I never had many opportunities to explore the outdoors due to harsh desert weather. As I grew up, adapting to indoor life became a part of me and my comfort zone. When I reached B.C, I was blown away by the endless outdoor adventure possibilities. This picture is from my daily walk to Buttertubs Marsh in Nanaimo.

I love listening and using my auditory skills, be it listening to people, music or the sound of crashing waves at the beach, or distant wind chimes on a windy day. One of the first things I did during my early Fall walk at Buttertubs Marsh was to pause, close my eyes and listen. I could hear the frogs croak, ducks splashing and quacking in the water, lizards and small creatures scurrying across tall grass, insects buzzing around my ears, the soft leaves swaying as the gentle breeze blew, all this while feeling the bright sun on my face.

I slowly opened my eyes and looked around to make myself aware of my surroundings again. The Early Learning Framework reminds me that, “Learning is not an individual act but happens in relationship with people, materials, and place” (Government of BC, 2019, p.65). Since spending quality time outside is a relatively new concept for me, I am equally curious and amazed by the novelty of nature and excited to collaborate and engage in reciprocal learning with children.

In A Pedagogy of Ecology, Ann Pelo (n.d.) discusses the significance of developing an ecological identity. She writes, “To foster a love for a place we must engage our bodies and our hearts – as well as our minds – in a specific place” (Pelo, n.d.). As a teacher/researcher, I am inspired by this idea, and wonder what it feels/looks/sounds like to respectfully explore a place with young children. How might children lead us when it comes to exploring the great outdoors? Which paths might become visible? What meaningful experiences could be magnified?


Government of British Columbia. (2019). British Columbia early learning framework (2nd ed.). Victoria: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Children and Family Development, & British Columbia Early Learning Advisory Group.

Pelo, A. (n.d.). Rethinking Schools. A pedagogy for ecology.

Broadening the Vocabulary of Play

Written by Catherine Chinn

The idea of ‘play’ has such a broad meaning and can involve many different experiences. In this post, I will focus on the following question:

How might broadening the vocabulary around play invite different modes of being in an infant/toddler room?

The BC Early Learning Framework [ELF] (Government of BC, 2019) describes that “play can be individual, collective, spontaneous, planned, experimental, purposeful, unpredictable, or dynamic” (p. 24). Play is vital to children’s well-being, learning, and growing. It is helping children to make sense of their world.

The ELF emphasizes the importance of play and opportunities for children to “experience the world through seeing, feeling, touching, listening, and by engaging with people, materials, places, species and ideas” (p. 24). Educators help create the spaces for play by providing materials and giving opportunities for the children to have meaningful experiences. Something that really resonated with me during the reading was Adrienne Argent’s quote, because it helped me realize that we truly are in an ongoing process of transformation and becoming. Our lived experiences entangle us in this process of becoming.

“To say that we play together is an unjust oversimplification: Rather we are in an ongoing process of becoming… Our curriculum is lived out daily; it exists with[in] all of us. Clay, paper, materials, children, educators, objects, music… are all powerful forces and they bring forth movement, history, and multiple layers of meaning” (Argent, 2014, p. 848, as cited in Early Learning Framework, Government of BC, 2019, p. 25). 

As I am broadening the definition of play, I am drawn to the concept of a rhizome introduced in the ELF. A rhizome is a plant that sends underground shoots off in many directions with no predictable pattern. Considering play as rhizomatic, I begin to imagine that play and learning have no predictable pattern and can occur is so many different ways and environments. The ELF discusses that “thinking of learning as rhizomatic leads to understanding that learning cannot be predetermined or have a prescribed outcome but is always producing something new” (p. 25). 


Government of British Columbia. (2019). British Columbia early learning framework (2nd ed.). Victoria: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Children and Family Development, & British Columbia Early Learning Advisory Group.

Our Student Ambassadors Jade and Fran

With classes offered online this fall, the ECEC team wanted to create spaces for 1st and 2nd year students at our Cowichan, Nanaimo, and Powell River Campuses to connect. We introduced the role of student ambassador and are tremendously grateful to Jade Felty and Francis Racy for taking on this role! Their commitment to the role and to creating a sense of belonging was evident in the thoughtful events they imagined and created for their peers. Thank you from all of us!

“This semester we had the incredible opportunity to create a sense of community amongst all the individual’s part of the ECEC program near and far. We hosted virtual events, connected through online discussion activities, and were involved in supporting our second year peers and all those who have been new to the program.” -By Jade and Fran

The ECEC team had the pleasure of connecting with Jade and Fran as well!