Promoting Equity in Early Childhood: A Storytelling Series to Build Atlantic Connections

This storytelling series is part of a project funded by SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) led by Dr. Jessie- Lee McIsaac (Tier II Canada Research Chair in Early Childhood: Diversity and Transition) at the Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre located at Mount Saint Vincent University.

This project is also supported by the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation in partnership with universities, government departments, and early childhood associations across Atlantic Canada.

The purpose of this project is to build connections and showcase research and practice focused on equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (or EDIA) in early learning and child care.

Storytelling Series

The storytelling sessions will take the form of a three-part series and will mobilize Atlantic-wide research and practice. Each seminar will highlight speakers from across Atlantic Canada on key topics critical to EDIA. See below for the list of dates and a link to the Eventbrite page for registration.

Register for the storytelling series here


Save the date: Each storytelling seminar will highlight speakers from across Atlantic Canada on key topics critical to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility: May 10th, 2023: Culturally Responsive Programming May 24th, 2023: Anti-Oppression June 7th, Accessibility and Inclusion.


Meet our Storytellers

Our third of the storytelling series (June 7th @ 10am ADT/10:30 NDT) will explore stories centred on Accessibility and Inclusion.

Stay tuned for more about our storyteller, coming soon!

Culturally Responsive Programming Storytellers (May 10th, 2023)

Nicholas Phillips (NS)
‘Mi’kmaw ECE program in Mi’kma’ki’
Nicholas (Nik) Phillips is a Treaty Education Policy Analyst for the provincial department of Office of L’nu Affairs, and a faculty member of the Nova Scotia Community College, teaching Early Childhood Education and the Poqji-kina’masulti’kw tel-kina’mujik mijua’ji’jk (Mi’kmaq Early Childhood Education) program. He is a member of Mulin Sipu (Millbrook Mi’kmaw Nation). As a young two-spirited knowledge holder, Nik embodies the practice of Etuaptmumk (two-eyed seeing), bringing a wealth of Indigenous and Western knowledge to his life and work. He holds the belief that reconciliation is imbedded in our ability to share, listen, and understand one another. He is a well rounded person who believes in supporting others in their own places of knowing. Nik holds a BA (Honours) and MA (Child and Youth Study) from Mount Saint Vincent University. He is an active member of community who advocates for language, culture, inclusivity, and equity.



Debbie Ingram (NL)
‘Embracing and celebrating diversity: implementing cultural programming into our everyday practices’
Debbie is the Child Development Coordinator with First Light St. John’s Friendship Centre. With roots in Mi’kmaq ancestry, Debbie is dedicated to sharing her heritage with the community and is particularly passionate about immersing the children in indigenous culture teachings. Outside of work, Debbie is a devoted mother to her 17-year-old daughter from China, who is the pride and joy of her life. She is also a well-known local fibre artist, known for her traditional granny square creations in the community.



Dr. Gabriela Arias de Sanchez (PEI)
‘Show me your ways: The entanglement of family literacy through play’
Dr. Gabriela Arias de Sanchez is an assistant professor at the University of Prince Edward Island Faculty of Education specializing in early years pedagogies. Her current research focuses on the revitalization of play pedagogies in formal education systems. Gabriela cannot resist Latino music. She will dance until the last song is played.



Emily Cook McDonald (PEI)
‘Show me your ways: The entanglement of family literacy through play’
Emily Cook-McDonald is a UPEI MEd student specializing in arts education and multi-literacies. Emily leads the UPEI Literacy and Numeracy Outreach Project, providing play-based educational opportunities for children and families throughout Prince Edward Island. When not at work, you can find her enjoying beach walks or cheering on her kids from the sidelines of a soccer field.



Kristin Dawson (NB)
‘Honoring linguistic cultures of New Brunswick Children and Families’
Kristen has over 15 years of early childhood experience. Her career has expanded over the years through many pathways, including pedagogical research, program and curriculum development, and supporting ongoing professional learning and reflective practice. Within her current role as a program consultant, with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Kristen is dedicated to strengthening the early childhood workforce by providing access to innovative ECE training and professional learning opportunities across the province.



Stacey Arbuckle (NB)
‘Honoring linguistic cultures of New Brunswick Children and Families’
Stacey works as an Early Learning Consultant for the Dept. of Education and Early Childhood Development. She currently facilitates the 90-hr Introduction to Early Childhood Education online course and is passionate about supporting new educators as they learn about the New Brunswick Curriculum Framework for Early Learning and Childcare-English and Best Practices in the field of Early Learning and Childcare.


Anti-oppression Storytellers (May 24th, 2023)

Adam Braye (NL/NS)
‘Life outside the lines: Supporting gender diversity in the early years’                                               

Adam, originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland has worked with children and youth in various capacities and contexts for over 15 years. Currently, he is an inclusion Coach for NSECDIS. He actively advocates for the transgender community and offers workshops on Supporting Gender Diversity in the Early Years.

The core of his practice is creating a healthy community through positive relationships. They believe creating a connection between people, allowing people to feel seen, heard and valued is the foundation to success.



Pam Whitty (NB)
‘Gender fluidity as equitable practice’

Pam has had the pleasure and privilege of working in Early Childhood Education for almost 50 years. She recently retired from 30 years as a professor Early Childhood and Critical Studies at UNB.

She lives on the unceded lands of the Wolastoqey Peoples in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Currently, she is working on ECE projects in gender-expansiveness and digital literacies.


Moashella Shortte (NS)                                                                                                                     Making Room for All in the Circle of Change’

Moashella is a mother, educator, author, and child and youth advocate. She spent her formative working years in the field of ECE in one of Nova Scotia’s largest Black communities. She currently serves as lead faculty for the Africentric Cohort of the ECE program at the Nova Scotia Community College.

Moashella defines her mission as providing learners with exceptional learning experiences that will help them build a strong, positive foundation for learning for life!