Conversations Through the Fence

By Amanda Gillmore and Jade Felty

Amanda Gillmore and Jade Felty are second year Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma students at Vancouver Island University. In April 2021 they both started their final Infant & Toddler practicum at two different locations in Central Vancouver Island and ended up being next door neighbours. All that was dividing them was a chain link fence.​

​Within the first few days of Practicum Jade had noticed Amanda and called out to her and waved through the fence. Before this practicum Amanda and Jade had never met in-person, but due to the Pandemic they met in 2020 through the transition of online courses with Vancouver Island University.

“Over the past 5 weeks I have had the opportunity to meet with Amanda through the fence at Practicum. It has been wonderful being able to make contact and connect with another student in my cohort during the isolating times of the Covid-19 pandemic. We exchanged thoughts and feelings about community, connection, our pedagogical narrations, and our lives. On our last visit Amanda and I exchanged letters.” Jade

“I fondly remember the first time that I met Jade in-person. I was outside at my new Practicum Centre, and I heard my name being called, but I didn’t recognize the voice or where it was coming from. I looked up and there waving and smiling through the fence was Jade- my VIU ECEC colleague. Jade and I had only ever met online through our ECEC classes through Zoom. We briefly had a conversation and with agreeance from our Practicum Instructor we decided to meet regularly outside of each of our centre’s sitting along the fence. I had one request that our conversations be organic and focus on each other, self-compassion and heart focused on what each of us needed on that day we would meet. Each week we would check in with one another, normally twice a week, ranging from 30 minutes to 1 hour. It was exactly what both of us needed and we maintained this weekly having our conversations through the fence.” Amanda

3 thoughts on “Conversations Through the Fence

  1. Truly struck again by the beauty of your hand written words, masked images of you and the power of the connections that you’ve reflected upon and shared. For me this piece is an example of collegiality in the context of relationships, how they must be tended to, recognized and are strengthened through our reflection upon them. These connections between you have been experimental, non prescriptive and unexpected, yet meaningful. What can we bring into our ECEC practice(s) and our living together well from this example? It brings me to the First Peoples Principles that are lived out in your story in so many ways.

    “Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focussed on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place)”

    First Peoples Principles of Learning, BC Early Learning Framework (2019)

    I met with some of the students from the new ECEC 133 cohort and felt so excited and proud to tell them about our blog! You have given us so much to learn with and from.

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