Play/grounding & pedagogy: Unravelling relationships with ECE playgrounds

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30 Nov 2021 - 7:00pm
Online event
Contact name: 
Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario (AECEO)
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Educators across Canada are far too familiar with playground scripts: position for easy supervision, introduce loose parts, encourage free play, promote motor skills, etc. But how often do we question the theories and assumptions that make these positions sound so absolute? For over a year, educators at a childcare centre in Sarnia have been working alongside pedagogists and a playground designer to shape the pedagogies that disrupt these dogmatic scripts and to reimagine the centre’s preschool playground.

In this webinar, the centre’s director Joanie Vallinga, the director of education Anne Marie Coughlin and the playground designer Tatiana Zakharova will share images, sounds, stories, and questions that inspired and continue to drive the work of rethinking our relationships with and on playgrounds. Together, we will consider: What do ECE playgrounds do, and how might these outdoor play-focused spaces connect to educational philosophies of today and challenges of tomorrow? How might we deeply and meaningfully intertwine pedagogical work and design of outdoor spaces for children? What might playgrounds look, feel and work like if the considerations behind their design and purpose were not driven by developmental psychology alone?

The centre’s educators will join the webinar with stories from their classrooms, as presenters will discuss the history of playgrounds and share the details of the design that’s currently under construction. The webinar will be followed by a facilitated break-out room discussion and the space to share and ask questions.

Anne Marie Coughlin is the Education Director at London Bridge Child Care Services.  She works as a pedagogical mentor for both classroom educators and early childhood leaders and has recently released a new book called, Creating a Culture of Reflective Practice: The role of Pedagogical Leadership in Early childhood Programs, which she co-authored with Lorrie Baird.

Joanie Vallinga, RECE, is a long-time toddler educator and now director of an early years learning centre. Her current position both fulfills her love of children and her passion for building strong community relationships.

Tatiana Zakharova, MLA, is a playground designer with Canadian design-build playground company Earthscape Play, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the Faculty of Education at Western University. Working under the supervision of leading ECE scholar Dr. Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, Tatiana’s research focuses on the entanglement of pedagogy and design. In her multidisciplinary work, Tatiana thinks with feminist post-human scholars to trouble the notion of play as a means of progress, imagining instead relationship-attuned play as worlding. Her work is a collaborative experimentation, as it wishes to reimagine play/grounding potentialities in wondering how can we respond, through design, to the question of living [well] together?

The AECEO is committed to ensuring that our learning experiences are accessible to all educators; including educators with disabilities, whether visible or invisible. We believe that taking care to create a learning experience where no person's voice, spirit, or knowledges are lost because they are unable to attend, benefits everyone. 
There will be English-ASL interpretation at this webinar.

If there are accommodations you need to participate in this webinar, or if you have questions about accommodations, please get in touch with us at by Monday 22nd November