The Provincial Centre invites reflections from those who have engaged in the pedagogist orientation to make visible their experiences.  Shared here are the first of many snapshots from pedagogists who have been impacted by experiences of becoming a pedagogist. 

“As this journey continues to unfold for us, the word transformational describes both the thinking process and the philosophical change that the course has inspired. The notion of ‘questioning’ our practice, our routines, our foundations, our roles, our responsibilities and our relationships has led to discussions both within our cohort in this course, within the workplace and even in everyday life.  Professionally, it has been the hardest but most gratifying work I have done as it has shifted and sharpened the lens that I see early learning through and has also intensified the commitment I have professionally to the early years. I look forward to the continued journey and hope that this opportunity can be extended to reach as many educators as possible, as it has been invaluable.”

Taryn McSherry, Community Pedagogist (Cohort 2, Ottawa Region)

Every week I sat at my desk and eagerly waited for the digital clock on my computer to show 4:00 PM.  The two hour Zoom calls with the Provincial Centre of Excellence was the best part of my work week.  I couldn’t wait to be with the folks in my cohort to listen, to question, to wonder and to linger together with the concepts that we were invited to read throughout the week. 

There were times that the readings consumed me and forced me to look at the world in a way that I was unaccustomed to and sometimes that was unsettling.  The ‘unsettling’ positioned me in a way to see the world more clearly, to see myself with greater insight and inspired me to consider alternative approaches in my work as an early childhood educator.  I am grateful for the experience and very much look forward to continuing onto the immersion phase with the Provincial Centre of Excellence, as I actively engage in a collaborative growth process with the early learning community in Waterloo Region.

Harmony Simard, Community Pedagogist (Cohort 2, London Region)

“My work with the Ontario Centre Of Excellence has been transformational to my practice. It has been a journey of connecting with pedagogical approaches and narratives that has been an inspiration in terms of possibilities, complexities and alternative narratives. These approaches have opened up a way of “being” and “becoming” for me. It offers a deeper way to connect, engage, meaning make, listen and to contextualize every day practices. My experience and collaborative journey with the network of pedagogists have introduced me to a creative space, that is unprescribed to old scripts. One that is entangled in challenging ourselves, critically reflecting, questioning and “putting into question”. One that is rich in reciprocity and dialogue that explores other understandings together with children, families and educators. As educators/researchers we approach education with curiosity with a wider relation to political and ethical context.  The Provincial Centre of Excellence has created a space to reconceptualize. It has cultivated a space to think with others, to be curious with others, to stretch our own thinking and to engage with a multiplicity of pedagogical possibilities.”

– Lisa Taylor, Community Pedagogist (Cohort 1, Toronto Region)

“The Centre of Excellence has been one of the highlights of my career so far.  I have found the information and ideas shared to be both challenging and exciting.  In my work with educators, children, and families I am more mindful of the intention behind my actions and understanding the intention behind their actions.”  

Jeff Bushell, Community Pedagogist (Cohort 1, London Region)

“We are beginning to understand the complexity of the inherited expectations of the “role” of early childhood educators and how these expectations implicate us directly in our day to day interactions with children, coworkers, families and the larger communities we work within. We are noticing that these specific expectations are directly responsible for hindering our ability as educators to nurture respectful, loving, inspiring relationships with the human and more than human worlds in which we live. This observation showed itself over weeks of living together and reflecting on our own behaviour as adults and how we were actually preventing relationships from evolving because of our inherited beliefs about what it means to be a good, competent early childhood educator.  This new understanding has opened up conversations about re-imagining the possibilities for the role of an educator. It has opened up our thinking to recognize the fragility of these existing expectations and is helping us to feel empowered to create a new way of being as educators with young children. We are excited to continue to think about how we, as adults working with young children, can redefine our roles to foster relationships that are inclusive, understanding, complex, joyful and empathetic to the human and more than human world. We have a deep understanding that this work and way of thinking is now embedded in us. We acknowledge that this is now a constant pursuit to understand the implications of each and every decision we make and action we take in our work. This realization has been a pivotal success and we move within the tension that this understanding brings with it, uncovering more and more possibility for our work each day.”

 – Renee Coughlin, Community Pedagogist from London Bridge Child Care (Cohort 2, London Region)