On Display: Ellen Brown Builds Canadian Connections with her New Blog

Friday, May 24, 2013


Every so often in life, we are blessed to meet people who restore our faith in humanity. Unbeknownst to her, Ellen Brown, (today's "On Display" feature) did just that for me.  

Ellen Brown
I first met Ellen Brown during our graduate courses at York University, however, didn't get to know her until much later...  After a couple of classes together, Ellen heard me talk about the first day of Full-Day Kindergarten in Ontario on a CBC radio interview.  Following this, she took the time to write me the most genuine email about how proud she was to be my colleague.  Though we barely knew each other, and sat at opposite ends of the lecture hall, her kind words and sincerity empowered me through my FDK journey.  It is these thoughtful acts or gestures of kindness that last in our memories for a lifetime.

Ellen and I grew to be friends with a mutual admiration for the Reggio Emilia Approach and a strong passion for the early years that bonded us together.  I have learned so much from Ellen through our experiences with Carol Anne Wien, conference presentation, pedagogical documentation workshops, and the list could go on...

Thank you Ellen for always providing me with honest and positive feedback.  I am so proud of your accomplishments as a graduate student, and look forward to graduating by your side this June.

I am also pleased to announce that Ellen Brown has been accepted to complete her Doctoral Degree in Education at York University.  In addition to this, she has begun a new and exciting blog!  This blog will help build and strengthen Canadian connections between educators who study pedagogical documentation.     

Here is the link to her new blog: Pedagogical Documentation: Building Canadian Connections 

Thank you to Ellen Brown for allowing me to feature her blog and her insights today!

Here is the "On Display" post written by Ellen Brown:


Hello! I am very happy to have been invited to be included in Joanne’s work. This blog is such a generous effort by Joanne to share her experiences transforming her classroom environment as she and her teaching partner explore responsive and authentic ways to learn with young children. As a former kindergarten teacher I recognize the effort this requires. Your followers do appreciate your honesty and transparency. Thank you so much Joanne and Julie!

Joanne and I first met in graduate classes at York University and have had the pleasure of working together on many occasions. She is such an engaging and delightful presenter and colleague.  Last summer Carol Anne Wien invited us to present our research in a panel presentation at the International Innovations in Early Childhood Education: A Canadian Forum on Early Childhood Frameworks in Victoria, B.C., alongside Brenda Jacobs and Marc Richard. We also enjoyed the international speakers and workshops and visited The Wonder of Learning Exhibit from Reggio Emilia, Italy, in New Westminster together. It was a memorable trip!

To use pedagogical documentation as research in practice requires that we listen attentively and receptively to children. This is not always easy and requires sometimes thought-provoking discussions and periods of self-reflection for educators. In this process we might become aware that we don’t always hear or understand what children are communicating about their understandings of the world. The efforts we make to challenge our thinking and listen to children with new intentions are often rewarded with delightful surprises. We begin to hear their perspectives and theories of the world that have the potential to upend our assumptions and influence and redefine our relationships with children in hopeful and energizing ways!

I would like to send a special thank you to Joanne and Julie and everyone that works in such genuinely sensitive and thoughtful ways with young children.

Ellen Brown

1 comment:

  1. Joanne,
    It's wonderful to see that you have a "critical friend" (as described by Dianne and Louise in their Reggio research study) because as Ellen states, you do give so much to your readers so generously. You continue to inspire me to try new ways of teaching and learning in my Kindergarten, and I look forward to teaching FDK (alas, in two years) because I've watched it grow through your eyes and others in your resource list.
    Congratulations to the both of you for reaching this milestone in your journey, and may all the work continue to inspire and uplift you.

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