Warm and Welcoming ECEC Community

By Samantha Bremner

What an amazing feeling it is to meet so many of my professors and classmates in the ECEC program for the first time in person after being colleagues and friends online for over a year. The feeling of being in a real life classroom with all these wonderful people is unreal. Being in the same space has enabled me to feel the energy of the group during discussions, and be moved by others. 

When I got accepted to the ECEC program back in the beginning of 2020 I was so excited to meet new friends who had similar interests as me! When I found out that the program was going to be online due to Covid 19 I was very upset and worried as I had never done any online schooling before. Throughout the year I was convinced that I would probably never get to meet all the beautiful faces that I’ve come to know as rectangles on my computer. This year proved me wrong and let me tell you I’ve never been happier to be proved wrong! 

Everyone in our ECEC cohort is amazing. We are supportive, kind, friendly and helpful. Something I have also noticed is I find it much easier speaking out loud and sharing my thoughts in a classroom, because I have grown to know and trust everyone in the program. We are creating a place to be vulnerable, knowing we won’t be judged. 

Being in a class with all these amazing people gives my mood and energy such a boost, unlike zoom where I unfortunately leave the class feeling a bit drained most of the time. Yesterday a few of us decided to stay on campus after our 270 class and get some lunch before our next class! We all went and got Subway and came back to the ECEC classroom to eat it. Afterwards the six of us joined the next zoom class as a group. It was a lot of fun hanging out and getting to know each other outside of class.I am nourished by interactions. 

 We are also a lot taller than I thought.

Becoming Co-teachers

By Antje Bitterberg and Summer Lin

In the Spring of 2020, soon after the announcement that most courses in post-secondary institutions would be moved online because of the pandemic, we had the opportunity of co-teaching a group of ECEC students from VIU’s Cowichan, Powell River, and Nanaimo campuses. With students from several communities, and the sudden shift from face-to-face classes to online classes, we wanted to focus on creating an online community for thinking and learning together. How might we cultivate collaborative, generative, and collegial modes of being teachers? 

We welcomed the invitation to think together and found much joy in the process of becoming co-teachers. We oriented ourselves toward this process of creating a space for co-teaching. On a day-to-day basis we committed to teaching together. As colleagues, we actively resisted the lure of efficiency. We did not divide the work among ourselves evenly allowing us to get things done. Instead we made time to slow down and to begin our days with dialogue. As roommates on zoom we lived and breathed the course together. 

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In our daily conversations within the context of our course and beyond, we became curious about the power of language. We wondered, ‘How might language shape what is possible/ measurable/ observable/  visible/ valued in early childhood spaces?’ To think about/with language, we introduced the concept of binary (paired) oppositions, where “[e]ach word…relies for its meaning on the other. We need the word fat to define slim. The same is so for straight and gay, black and white, etc. A pair always has two” (MacNaughton, 2005, p. 62). We have included more pairs below, some are borrowed from Glenda MacNaughton, others we brainstormed with the students. 

  • complete/ incomplete
  • predictable/ unpredictable
  • normal/ abnormal
  • boy/ girl
  • developed/ underdeveloped
  • rich/ poor
  • efficient/ inefficient

It is important to note that these “pairs are always ranked, so one part of the pair always has higher value in the ranking and is privileged over the ‘other’. So, using binary oppositions places some meanings in a secondary, subordinate position and often an aberrant position” (Mac Naughton, 2005, p. 63). Mac Naughton (2005, p. 118) offers the following questions: 

  • “How does binary thinking enter your everyday discussions in early childhood studies?”
  • “What is silenced or othered through the hierarchical thinking in these binaries?”
  • “What everyday words could you put under erasure to help you wonder new meanings and actions for social justice in your classroom?”

Rejuvenated and transformed by our process of thinking together, we invite you to join us by sharing your (in)complete engagement with these questions, your own wonderings, or connections to the Early Learning Framework (Government of BC, 2019) by responding to this post! 


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. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/early-learning/teach/early-learning-framework 

Mac Naughton, G. (2005). Doing Foucault in early childhood studies: Applying poststructural ideas. Routledge.