Passionate About Early Childhood Education Policy, Practice, and Pedagogy

Exploring Intersections Between Discourses, Experiences, and Feelings...Knitting New Terms of Belonging


  • Pam Whitty University of New Brunswick
  • Monica Lysack Sheridan College
  • Patricia Lirette MacEwan University
  • Joanne Lehrer Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Jane Hewes Thompson Rivers University


Early Childhood Education, Policy, Curriculum, Relationships, Feminist theory, Throwntogetherness


We are five early childhood researchers, from across Canada, thrown together amongst a series of alarming discourses, where developmental, economic, and neuroscientific rationales for ECEC drown out alternative theoretical perspectives, as well as personal experience, values, subjective knowledges, and the fierce passion we feel for our work. In the midst of this “throwntogethness” (Massey, 2005), how do we bring our situated knowings and desires to these discursive material relational mashups? How do we engage with the throwntogetherness that is the Canadian ECEC field as we knit together alternative ways of being, doing, and acting, figuring out what resonates in localized situations (Osgood, 2006)? To begin to answer these questions, we think with feminist theory (Bezanson; 2018; Langford et al., 2016; Prentice, 2009); the politics of the event of place, (Massey, 2005) and relational and spatial networked discursive entanglements (Massey, 2005; Nichols et al., 2012; Ingold, 1995; Haraway, 2016) as we untangle three vignettes related to advocating for a competent universal public ECEC system; writing post-developmental curriculum frameworks; and weaving productive relationships between university researchers and early childhood practitioners. These vignettes illuminate our struggles to “stay with the trouble,” as Haraway (2016) suggests, stubbornly hanging on to the hope of producing new terms of belonging (Burns & Lundh, 2011) as a form of resistance, allowing us to open up spaces to imagine, tell alternative stories (Moss, 2014), and create real change within our local contexts.

Author Biographies

Pam Whitty, University of New Brunswick

Pam Whitty is a professor of early childhood and critical studies at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. Over the past thirty years, she has co-led numerous community-based action research projects in curriculum, literacies and early childhood.

Monica Lysack, Sheridan College

Monica Lysack is a professor of early childhood leadership at Sheridan College, Ontario, Canada. She is principal investigator in the research project "Strengthening the Role of Municipal Delivery of Early Childhood Education and Care in Canada: Exploring Policy Innovations from Denmark," driven by her ECEC policy experience with provincial and federal governments.

Patricia Lirette, MacEwan University

Patricia (Tricia) Lirette is an associate professor at MacEwan University (Canada) and currently holds the position of department chair of human services and early learning. She is co-principal investigator on the research team that is writing and researching Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework. Her other research interests include child and family policy and applying the lens of institutional ethnography to inquiry in early childhood education.

Joanne Lehrer, Université du Québec en Outaouais

Joanne Lehrer is associate professor in the department of educational sciences at Université du Québec en Outaouais. She is principal investigator in a research project titled “The multiplication of educational contexts for four-year-olds, is it justified? A multicase institutional ethnography comparing four-year-old kindergarten programs and early childhood educational and care services” and co-investigator in a number of early childhood research projects. Her interests include the transition to school, working with families, emergent and innovative pedagogies, and social justice.

Jane Hewes, Thompson Rivers University

Jane Hewes was co-principal investigator of action research at MacEwan University to create and animate Flight: Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework. She continues to explore early childhood curriculum, play pedagogies and approaches to professional learning in ECEC at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada, where she is associate dean in the Faculty of Education and Social Work.