The Early Learning Framework (Government of BC, 2019) describes a rhizome as a plant that develops underground and buds in many directions and without a predictable pattern. Inspired by this image, I created this visual map of my learning connections on this wonderful, complex, and unpredictable path to becoming an early childhood educator.
Grateful for so much!
Government of BC. (2019). British Columbia early learning framework. Victoria, BC: Queen’s Printer.
Today I found myself in a grove, to be very specific, in an Alder Grove; I thought about how these trees are so quick to grow and that they fall quickly—constantly rising, falling and re-growing again. This speaks to the images you pull from the pedagogical narration by Shannon McDaniel called “The Educator I Once Was” (Government of British Columbia, 2019, p. 91). With this, my heart is open to new ideas, and I am, hopefully, forever willing to grow and be teachable.
Ash’s encouragement that I may already know who I am responsible for brings joy to my heart. Her writing sings a song of welcome and invitation. I feel called to respond…
So, after her invitation to breathe, I can articulate who I feel responsible to: I feel responsible for all things human and non-human. I am also responsible for living well so others may live well too.
How might I respond to this call to be responsible? Here is the how and why of it:
To uphold, live and breathe our Framework’s vision: “Respectfully living and learning together” (Government of British Columbia, 2019, p. 42).
To love and be loved (human and non human).
To feel welcome and welcome others, much like Ash has done above.
To challenge and critically reflect on the thoughts and stories that have led me to where I am today. “To be and to become an experienced teacher is not merely the accumulation of strategies and knowledge, but rather it calls for one to confront one’s previous understanding” (Pelech & Skuce, 2020).
I will share that I appreciate Ash’s way of bringing her learning visible; It opens up an opportunity for me to do the same. I will close with this question: is it possible that we are also responsible to our colleagues?
“Every breath that you take is a breath that was made for you by plants”(Kimmerer, 2019).
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
In Shannon McDaniel’s work ‘The Educator I Once’ Was she tells a story of her experience with taking children out into nature. McDaniel reflects on the transformative journey. First, her initial hesitancy and discomfort while supervising the children as they explore the forest freely. Next, her awareness and vulnerability in asking for help and support from colleagues, which is met with warmth and wholehearted acceptance. Then, in her own time McDaniels is able to ease back into spontaneity alongside the children, trusting, and observing their processes with curiosity. Through this observation and reflection McDaniel poses some profound questions. Amongst them, this: “Who are we responsible to?”
“Who are we responsible to?”
I sit in silence between breaths waiting for an answer to uncover itself.
To Parents? Teachers? Bosses? Peers?
The multitude of possibilities writhe around in my head. “Who are we responsible to?”
The children? Mother Nature? Our community?
“Who are we responsible to?”
Tradition? Education? History?
Slowly the pieces begin to form patterns, falling into place.
In personal reflection of this question, I draw parallels between McDaniel’s anecdote and the answers that come to mind.
I imagine the children in McDaniel’s writing, bounding through undergrowth, laying on the forest floor, constructing fortresses built from the inspiration bursting forth from their limitless imaginations. Joyously. Honestly. And I recall McDaniel. In open an honest connection and collaboration, plunging her bare feet into the cold and squishy mud to break the tension of uncertainty within the group.
Who were they responsible to?
The bugs in the dirt? Forest flora and fauna? The dirty socks to be laundered and the mopping to certainly be done upon returning indoors?
Maybe all of these things..
And maybe none of them.
“Inclusive learning and care supports the individual strengths and needs of each child, allowing them to meaningfully engage, learn, and contribute to the community and culture of their program.” -BC ELF P.103
At any given time, within any experience, each individual carries their own perspectives and motivations. Children and adults alike. This intrinsic and intuitive drive has such potential to be a catalyst for a plethora of rich and impactful experiences. A bridge between the known and unknown. And in tandem with connection and collaboration, an almost immeasurable opportunity for growth and transformation.
So, breathe deeply… Sit and listen, Let your thoughts come and go however they so choose.