Early Childhood Education Professional Development Series


Online speaker series

All sessions are free of charge and are delivered virtually, but registration for each session is required. A certificate for professional development hours can be requested for a $10 fee.

Click on each session title to learn more, find past recordings, and register!

Weaving Together the Health and Wellbeing of Children with the Health and Wellbeing of Land [session poster]

Cree Elder, Mr. Joseph Masty* asked: ‘If the land is not healthy, then how can we be?’ Medical Health Officer with Vancouver Island Health and a member of Stz’uminus First Nation, Dr. Shannon Waters says: ‘We are the land, and the land is us.’ Indigenous worldviews include ethics of respect, reciprocity, and responsibility to the land and other beings inhabiting the land.

Inspired by these worldviews, in this session, you will be invited to engage with critical questions such as, How do early childhood educators create a culture of health and wellbeing that includes the land (as well as air, water) and other beings through our pedagogical practice? Can we generate kinship ties and fellowship with all our relations? With the creation of respectful, reciprocal relationships with the land will children grow & learn in a healthier way? These questions are aimed to open up a conversation where health and wellbeing become complex dynamic processes closely related to cultural values and the kind of choices we make in our daily practice.

*Mr. Joseph Masty is cited in Adelson, N. (2000). ‘Being alive well’: Health and politics of Cree well-being. University of Toronto Press.

About the Presenter

Sheila Grieve enjoyed working as a front-line educator, floor supervisor and centre director for almost twenty years (1987-2006). In that time she gained experience in a wide variety of ECEC settings including multi-age care, nursery, school age care, head start and at a “paivakoti” in Finland. She has been able to apply that experience as a post-secondary instructor since 2006. Sheila’s research involves, informed by her Metis, Cree and Scottish ancestry, a combination of child development and ethnobotany. She has partnered with early childhood care and education settings adding culturally relevant plants to the outdoor classroom of each setting. Sheila is passionate about working with students and community members to enrich the field of Early Childhood Education and Care, with a particular focus on nature interactions. In 2022, Sheila was sashed with honour as one of Metis Nation BC’s Métis Early Learning & Child Care Award winners.

Certificate (Aboriginal Childcare) Red River College; BA (Physical Education), University of Manitoba; BA (Child Psychology) University of Manitoba; MA (Integrated Studies), Athabasca University


Danielle Alphonse is the BC Regional Innovation Chair in Aboriginal Early Childhood Development. Danielle has worked for many years in Aboriginal Education in early childhood/child care settings (infants and toddlers), First Nations Education (FNED) in Victoria working with children in kindergarten as well as high school level students regarding cultural awareness.  As an Aboriginal Supported Child Development Consultant (ASCD) at a Victoria agency she worked on providing services to urban Aboriginal families. Danielle is in her ninth year as the BC Regional Innovation Chair for Aboriginal Early Childhood Development (AECD) and is working on a number of exciting community-based initiatives.

Diploma (Early Childhood Education & Care) Vancouver Island University; BA (Child and Youth Care) University of Victoria; MA (Educational Leadership), Vancouver Island University.

Fostering Social and Emotional Development and Promoting Mental Health in the Early Years [Padlet link referenced in video]

This workshop is designed to provide you with insights into the social and emotional lives of young children. Together we will examine some factors that impact young children’s social and emotional development, and explore practical strategies for the promotion of young children’s social and emotional competence, and mental health. We will also discuss the role of our own wellbeing and mental health as adults who care for young children, and ways to foster our own social and emotional learning.

About the Presenter

Angela LowDr. Angela Low is committed to promoting resilience and social and emotional competence in children and their families. She is currently the Provincial Lead for Early Years Health and Wellness at Child Health BC, overseeing the development and implementation of a mental health program to promote social and emotional development in the early years, alongside other provincial health promotion programs for young children. Angela was also an instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, and has been developing educational resources and facilitating workshops on emotional intelligence for 15 years in China and Canada.

What Can We Learn About Wellbeing From the BC ECE Peer-Mentoring Program

In this session, participants will learn about a project titled Peer-Mentoring Program for Early Childhood Educators in British Columbia. The purpose of this project is to support the ongoing professional identity needs of beginning and experienced Early Childhood Educators, with the hope that through this relationship and community-building project the well-being of Early Childhood Educators will be enhanced while the burnout rate will be reduced. Workshop participants will be invited to share their thoughts and ideas as they experience some of the strategies used by Peer-Mentoring Program facilitators and mentors.

About the Presenters

Summer Lin is originally from Taiwan, and fluent in English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. Since 2010, she has been learning and sharing knowledge in the field of early childhood education (ECE) on Vancouver Island. After graduating from the ECEC diploma program at VIU, Summer has worked as a frontline early childhood educator, a facility manager, a practicum mentor as well as a childcare centre owner and operator. She places great value on the personal relationships she has developed over this time. Summer’s research interests focus on the betterment of early years public policy, the recruitment and retention of early childhood educators, and ECE leadership frameworks. Summer has been an instructor since 2019, and she believes in the power of personal connection in addition to the potential of all learners. Besides being a member on the VIU ECEC Degree Committee, Summer is also an executive of the ECEBC Nanaimo Branch and a Peer-Mentoring Project facilitator for the Nanaimo area.

Diploma (Early Childhood Education and Care), Vancouver Island University; BA (English Language and Literature), Soochow University – Taiwan; MEd (Educational Leadership), Vancouver Island University

Ellen Strelaeff has been an Early Childhood Educator for 30 years. She is currently working as an ECE instructor at Selkirk College and is also a sessional instructor with Northern Lights College. Ellen had the privilege of being a leader for the Peer Mentoring pilot in 2019/20 and has returned for the 3-year term in 2021. She lives in Castlegar, B.C. and loves all of the opportunities and experiences that living in the Kootenays brings.

B.A. in Child and Youth Care (The University of Victoria) and an M.ED. in Early Childhood Education (The University of British Columbia)

Brought to you by UBC's Early Childhood Education, Centre for Early Childhood Education & Research, and the Edith Lando Virtual Learning Centre.