District Of Muskoka Celebrates Child Care Educators And Early Years Workforce


To provide the best early childhood experiences for our children, we must support those who care for them

Early childhood experiences delivered by caring and knowledgeable individuals in the Child Care and Early Years sector have a positive impact on children’s learning, development, well-being and achievement in school and beyond. Positive interactions and thoughtful relationships often start with committed childcare providers who inspire and enrich potential, who, like all of us, want the very best for our children.

We know that a strong, highly skilled workforce is essential to support our children – but there is a shortage of childcare providers in Muskoka, and we’re not alone. Many communities across the province struggle to find enough staff to support their programs.

Making professional development a priority

The Pedagogy of Care Conference is a 1.5-day conference that acknowledges the vital role of our Early Years and Child Care Sector through workshops, sessions, keynote speakers, panel discussions with experts in the field, and valuable networking opportunities. Over 150 attendees are experiencing the Pedagogy of Care Conference and will have opportunities to learn from many inspirational industry speakers.

People sitting at tables listening to a speaker

Making time to recognize and celebrate each other

Childcare teams have shown resilience during the most difficult times of the Pandemic; responding and providing Emergency Child Care, pivoting programs and policies to adjust to changes in public health measures, workforce shortages and most recently, the implementation of the Canada Wide Early Learning and Child Care System. We know this Sector is the key to high-quality early years and child care experiences – these inspiring individuals are there for our children, creating environments that encourage a child’s natural curiosity and creativity to inspire positive early years experiences possible for children.

Dedicated ongoing professional development needs to be a priority for our Early Years and Child Care Sector. The Pedagogy of Care Conference was made possible by federal investment in the Child Care and Early Years Workforce Funding, and is being made available to the District of Muskoka, the service system manager, as part of the 2022 and 2023 Ministry of Education allocations. This funding supports learning opportunities for professional development, including the retention and recruitment of high-quality childcare and early years workforce.

The Pedagogy of Care Conference at Bayview Wildwood Resort on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26, 2022 is host to sessions, workshops and panel discussions by influential industry experts and keynote speakers, including:

  • Emily Mills – Emcee: Emily Mills is the award-winning founder and one of Canada’s leading influencer brands for diverse/BIPOC women entrepreneurs and leaders.
  • Tehaonatahnhen Christopher Stock: Tehonatáhnhen Christopher Stock (He/Him) is of the Mohawk nation and is a 5th generation member of Wahta Mohawk Territory.
  • Lorrie McGee Baird: Lorrie McGee Baird has been actively working in the early learning field for over 35 years and currently is the Executive Director of Pedagogy with Compass Early Learning and Care in Peterborough, Ontario.
  • Dr. Karyn Gordon: Dr. Karyn Gordon’s purpose is to develop great leaders who drive success both at home and work.
  • Tiffany Poirier: Tiffany Poirier—a.k.a. the Inquiry Ninja—is a national award-winning educator, speaker, and mom of three boys.
  • Dr. Diane Kashin: Dr. Diane Kashin is a registered early childhood educator who taught early childhood education at both the degree and the diploma levels for over 30 years.
  • Dr. Gordon Cleveland: Dr. Gordon Cleveland is an economist and researcher in the field of early childhood education.
  • Debbi Sluys: Debbi Sluys founder of Dare to Declare is a coach, trainer, and speaker who specializes in helping people expand their brain’s potential to see what is possible for their future with Vision boards.
  • Sarah McVanel: Sarah McVanel is a recognition expert, professional speaker, coach, author, recovering, perfectionist and movement maker.
  • Michael Lewis: Michael Lewis is Managing Director of Michael Lewis Training, Motivation and Development, a London, Ontario based training and development firm developing and delivering personal and professional development presentations, seminars, webinars, workshops, and teambuilding facilitation.
  • Gaya’dowehs Lu Ann Hill-MacDonald: Gaya’dowehs Lu Ann Hill-MacDonald is Mohawk, Bear Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, and received an Order in Council appointment to assist with the creation of the College of Early Childhood Educators, and facilitated dialogue as Coordinator of the ECE Working Group of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium.
  • Patricia Couroux: Patricia Couroux is the Early Childhood Community Development Centre’s Coaching and Mentoring Services Coordinator.

For more information about the Pedagogy of Care Conference and the speakers inspiring our teams, please visit www.engagemuskoka.ca


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