This spring, the Early Childhood Educators of British Columbia (ECEBC), an association that works for the advancement of public policies and practices for daycare workers, is hosting a two-day conference that will include training educators on how to “decolonize” childcare spaces and celebrate gender diversity.
On May 13, educators will attend the “Embracing Gender Diversity in Our Sites of Practice” workshop, taught by two social justice activists named Elliot Wheatcroft and Kendra Farley.
The training is based on the premise that daycares are able to become “beacons of access” that make it possible for all services to be “a safer place for gender creative children and families.” The instruction given by Wheatcroft and Farley will coach early childhood educators on how to use “intentional language to better include gender diverse children” who are “worthy of being embraced and celebrated.”
A second workshop called “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Early Childhood Setting” is scheduled for the same day and will be presented by Annette Calhoun. The ECEBC’s description of what this workshop will entail says educators will be taught how to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into curriculums “for our youngest learners.”
It appears that educators attending the conference will also be learning that childcare spaces need to be decolonized. A workshop titled “Decolonizing Early Learning and Child Care Spaces” will also take place on May 13, and be presented by Cathy Balatti.
Balatti will help educators learn about “decolonized practices” by guiding them through a “critical reflection to examine decolonizing practices within early learning programs.”
A statement on their website from the ECEBC’s chair, Violet Jesson reads:
I grew up in Vancouver encountering a school system where history lessons minimized or ignored the violence and cruelties that were dealt to the indigenous peoples. Colonial practices and laws and the establishment of residential schools by the governments of the day attempted to suppress and crush them. However, the Truth and Reconciliation Report and the Calls to Action compels us to act. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights for Indigenous Peoples compels us to act. The First Peoples Principles of Learning that is written in the BC Early Learning Framework compels us to act. As Early Childhood Educators, individually and together we can take responsibility for our decision-making and respond in ways that honor the original stewards of this land.