Unsettling encounters with ‘natural’ places in early childhood education

Fikile Nxumalo has completed a doctoral research inquiry into everyday place encounters at a child care centre located in British Columbia, Canada on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. This project critically engages with the question of what attention to Indigenous presences, to ongoing colonialisms, and to human/more-than-human entanglements, in everyday place encounters might do towards enacting anti-colonial early childhood pedagogies. The study articulated refiguring presences as an anti-colonial methodological orientation for attending to the intricacies of everyday place encounters in early childhood settings. The methodology of refiguring presences was put to work through a series of interruptive stories that attended to the Indigenous relationalities, more-than-human materialities and settler colonial tensions that come together in the making of a mountain forest and community garden that children and educators regularly encounter. The project contributed new perspectives on environmental early years pedagogies that subvert colonial and anthropocentric impositions of control, belonging and order



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