Standing Strong Together

2024 Conference Presenters

Get to know the 2024 ECEBC Conference presenters. View their bio's below.

conference speaker meeting with ECE's at their table

Keynote, Plenary & Closing Speakers

Candace Linklater

Candace Linklater

wâciye Candace Linklater nitišinihkâson nitohcîn môsoniyi ministik 

ᐙᒋᔦ ᓂᑎᔑᓂᐦᑳᓱᓐ ᑳᓐᑖᔅ ᓕᒃᓓᑕᕐ ᒨᓴᓃ ᒥᓇᔅᑎᒃ ᓂᑐᐦᒌᓐ

Hello, my name is Candace Linklater and I am from Moose Factory Island

Introducing Candace Linklater: an inspiring figure in the realm of education and a leader in advocating for the rights of Indigenous children in schools. As a member from the Moose Cree First Nation on Treaty 9 territory, Candace is more than a descendant of a historical Chief and a Treaty 9 signatory; she's a contemporary trailblazer. 

Currently a Ph.D. candidate, Candace's research focuses on creating safe and respectful spaces for Indigenous queer children in educational environments. With experience being an educator on her reservation, she firmly believes in the pivotal role of K-12 education in leading meaningful change between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Her approach goes beyond traditional teaching methods, encouraging educators to learn and unlearn colonial educational practices and urging a commitment to continuous change in pursuit of reconciliation.

Candace's influence extends to social media, where she educates and inspires nearly a million followers on Facebook under the moniker Relentless Indigenous Woman. The success of her online platform led her to establish Relentless Indigenous Woman Co., where she provides invaluable guidance to educators and educational leaders on their reconciliation journey. Her work is not just about imparting knowledge; it's about inspiring change within education and beyond.

Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw

Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw

Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw is a Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Faculty of Education and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research in Curriculum at Western University in Ontario, Canada. Prior to joining Western University, she was a Professor at the School of Child & Youth Care at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, where I now serve as Adjunct Professor. She is also co- director of the Early Childhood Pedagogy Network. Veronica’s writing and research contribute to the Common Worlds Research Collective (tracing children's relations with places, materials, and other species), and the Early Childhood Pedagogies Collaboratory (experimenting with the contours, conditions, and complexities of 21st century pedagogies). Her SSHRC-funded research explores climate change pedagogies with children, and children’s relations with waste and materials in the global North and global South.

Kathleen Kummen

Kathleen Kummen

Kathleen Kummen is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Early Childhood Education department at Thompson Rivers University (TRU). Prior to joining TRU, Kathleen was a faculty member at Capilano University. She is also a co-director of the Early Childhood Pedagogy Network, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Western University of Ontario and an ECEBC board member, as well as a member of the Early Childhood Pedagogies Collaboratory and the Common Worlds Research Collective.Kathleen’s research in early childhood education strives to make space for more contextually situated curricula and pedagogies that reflect the complex lives of real children. As an educator of early childhood educators, she aspires to attend, with students, to how to live/teach/research in a world of competing and contradictory discourses.

Gyda Chud

Gyda Chud

Gyda Chud has taught in the ECE programs at Langara, Douglas and still at Vancouver Community College, where she considers herself as “rewired” rather than retired! She has had a long involvement at the national level as Chair of the Child Care Human Resource Sector Council and with passion for our outstanding sector, continues on the Board of FIRST CALL, Westcoast Family Centres and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC.

Workshop Presenters

Thursday Morning Presenters (Session A):

Workshop A1: Trauma Aware Communication Part 1

Kate Toye is a Self-Compassion coach, a mother, daughter, sister, auntie, and spouse. She is grateful that she gets to witness daily the transformation that self-compassion, parts work, somatic experiencing, and compassionate inquiry have had on her own life and with the people she is grateful she gets to work with. Kate loves gifting meditations and sharing resources and would love to stay connected, visit her at

Workshop A3 - Building Emotional Resilience in Early Childhood Educators

Monica is an early childhood specialist committed to serving families and educators in their journey nurturing the minds of children aged 0-5 years. With specific training and a background in developmental psychology and early years education, complemented by a Certificate in RIE Foundations she focuses on provoking a deeper intention in our practices and choices as adults nurturing the holistic development of young children.

Workshop A4 - Leading Your Team

Sharon began her early learning career in Terrace, BC.  In 2021, she relocated to Alberta where she has been leading teams, coaching, mentoring and teaching ELCC professionals.

Workshop A5 - The Power of Student Collective Action: Engaging Post-Secondary Students in ECE Advocacy

Aryanna Chartrand is a Black, Cree and settler educator, advocate in early childhood education, ECEBC member, and CCCABC member. She served both as Chair of the Alliance of BC Students and the Vice President External of the Capilano Students Union. She is currently writing for the Stanford Public Scholarship Collaborative on issues concerning early childhood and is an MA student in International Education Policy Analysis /International Comparative Education at Stanford University.

Tashia Kootenayoo is a Stoney-Sioux, queer identifying woman from the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation who has been leading in Advocacy work for five (5) years across sectors. Notably, Tashia served as the first First Nations president on the Students Union of UBC Okanagan (SUO), representing UBC undergraduate and graduate students.

Workshop A6: Awakening the Power of Collective Wisdom with the BC Early Learning Framework

Ewa has a Masters Degree in Pedagogy of Early Years Education and 25 years in the field as an educator, facilitator, programs and training coordinator, ECE instructor, and practicum facilitator. She believes that learning is an ongoing journey that needs to be shared with others by walking along side them.

Workshop A7: The Heart of Connection and the Presence Effect

Maureen Caley-Verdonk is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation with a focus on Speaking and Speech Writing; a Licensed WomanSpeak Circle Leader as well as a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher from Dawson City, Yukon.  In her workshop, she will guide you in exploring mindfulness as a potent instrument for personal growth and demonstrate how nurturing deeper connections can enhance both our personal lives and professional endeavors.

Thursday Afternoon Presenters (Session B):

Workshop B1: Trauma Aware Communication Part 2

Kate Toye is a Self-Compassion coach, a mother, daughter, sister, auntie, and spouse. She is grateful that she gets to witness daily the transformation that self-compassion, parts work, somatic experiencing, and compassionate inquiry have had on her own life and with the people she is grateful she gets to work with. Kate loves gifting meditations and sharing resources and would love to stay connected, visit her at

Workshop B2: Aboriginal Head Start - Intergenerational Family Wellbeing programs

Joan Gignac member of the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, and Executive Director of the Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC is a proud Early Childhood, IT, SN Educator for 33+ years.

Workshop B3 - (Re)configuring relations to place

Angela Ward is an early childhood educator with over a decade of experience in early learning spaces. I am an MA Student in Early Childhood Education at UBC, and have most recently worked as a pedagogist and collaborator with research projects.

Zoe Linford is an ECE, artist, avid reader and mother of two. She lives in Squamish, BC and is an active member of the community. She has been in the field for 15+ years and is a recent graduate from Capilano University with a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Care and Education. Zoe is currently exploring what it means to think with land-based pedagogies.

Workshop B4 - Leadership in Indigenous Early Childhood Education

Wendy Kenward is a Provincial Child Care Advisor with BC Aboriginal Child Care Society. She has more than thirty years of experience working with children with special needs and their families. She has experience as an early childhood educator in inclusive programs, as well as in leadership roles in Early Intervention Pre-Schools, Child Care Resource & Referral and the Supported Child Development Program. Wendy has studied organizational leadership both in the community and early years programs, as well as part of her academic education.

Sam Casey is a Hul’q’umi’num language speaker from the Cowichan Nation. He has been in the child care field for over 14 years and with BC Aboriginal Child Care Society for over eight years in multiple capacities. He worked at Eagles Nest Aboriginal Head Start as an ECE and Cultural Support Worker and currently is the Resource Coordinator on the Aboriginal Child Care Resource and Referral team. Sam has his ECE as well as Special Needs and Infant/Toddler certifications.

Workshop B5 - The Purple Rock: The Specificities of Childrens Relation with Place

Iris has been an early childhood educator for many years before moving to research and teaching early childhood education (ECE) within the academic context of UBC’s faculty of education where she teaches ECE courses and coordinates graduate programs.  Her areas of interest are leadership in ECE and outdoor pedagogy.

Friday Morning Presenters (Session C):

Workshop C1 - A LOT more than expected

Lisa Labere

My name is Lisa. Well actually, my first name is really Jennifer. I’ve been a bit of a handful from a young age; deciding one day to show up in grade 1 and not respond to my first name but only to my middle name. I’ve been known as Lisa ever since. A great start right?! Haha. A handful yes, but also a fun, loveable and free spirited person.

I used to work to make money and take that money to travel around the world. Then I made money to travel again and ended up falling in love with a coworker and not leaving. We have been married now for 20 years, and are parents to two children.

I began my career in Early Childhood Education 18 years ago. For the last 10 and a 1/2, I’ve been working full time at a non profit centre for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. It is a centre based on oral language learning; through song and conversation and patience and kindness. It rings true for me since I believe in what we are doing daily with the children and the families; as well as having a child diagnosed with hearing loss at 5 1/2. I love the beaches and the forest and have made many memorable moments as a child hiking in Lynn Valley and around the UBC campus (forest and beach) areas and along the Fraser River. This is why I joined the LOT program. I am thrilled to bring my love of the outdoors to others and to keep learning on how to instil love and respect of Mother Nature to the children that are in my care


Tiffany Rombough

My Name is Tiffany and I am blessed to live in the Cowichan valley on Vancouver island where I am surrounded by both mountains and ocean. I have worked in childcare for 10 years, 8 of which are at my current centre where I am the senior early childhood educator of the toddler program. I can be found adding collected water to a puddle to make it bigger, and allowing children to be free and explore their own limits on a daily basis in my Reggio Emilia inspired program. I love to be outdoors with children creating every opportunity to explore nature while developing social emotional and physical skills through allowing children the freedom to be their own individual person.


Amy Peterson

My name is Amy and I am very grateful to live in my hometown of Pemberton with my husband who also works in Early Childhood Education and our four year old son and two year old daughter. Prior to becoming an ECE, I completed studies in Publishing and Adventure Guiding, both of which provided knowledge and experience that serve me daily. I thrive in a leadership role where I can facilitate quality care and help to mentor other educators. My favourite workplace experiences are being in nature with children and helping them develop their social-emotional capabilities. All in all I am an outgoing and caring person who dreams to be a real life Ms Frizzle


Kristen Dubinsky

Hi my name is Kristen and I live in beautiful North Vancouver where I was born and raised. Although I have only officially been in the ECE world for about 5 years, I have always loved working with children. I feel privileged to manage an infant toddler program in West Vancouver where every child has their own sense of belonging and can find their path in life autonomously.


Linda Bond

I’m Linda Bond from Williams Lake, where I’ve lived since grade 5. I’ve been an ECE for 35 years and at the Williams Lake Daycare for 30 of those years. I took a 5 year break to run a home daycare when my husband Merv (of almost 34 years) and I had our 2 sons Kurtis and Justin. I went back to my centre with both sons in tow when my youngest was one and I’m still there now. I feel lucky to be living my favourite role ever: being Nona to the most amazing little people, Kallie, Brooks and Bowen!

Workshop C2 - Slow Hands, Caring Eyes: Responsive Curriculum in the Baby Room

Monica is an early childhood specialist dedicated to supporting families and educators as they guide the development of children aged 0-5 years. Her expertise in developmental psychology and early years education, enhanced by a Certificate in RIE Foundation, emphasizes the importance of thoughtful and intentional practices in adult approaches to nurturing young children's holistic growth. 

Workshop C3 - Thinking and Doing Curriculum-Making with Pedagogical Narration

Chelsea Hann, Prince George
Living on the lands of the Lheidlienneh in Prince George, Chelsea has a decade of experience working with children and families. Bringing a passion for local knowledges and storytelling into her role, Chelsea's work with centres currently spans a vast territory, supporting four rural communities across Northern BC.

Teresa Smith, Secwepemclewc
Teresa aims to cultivate collaborative relationships with educators, families, children and other pedagogists to rethink childcare, and co-build a community where all children can flourish withing complex and intersecting 21st century realities.

Workshop C6 - Embracing Tensions: Encounters with Tough Conversations

Ashleigh Davies is an early childhood educator with her bachelors in ECCE and has worked with children in a variety of roles over the last decade. Ashleigh has worked as a post-secondary instructor, leading ECE post-basic courses, and currently is the CAPC Coordinator and member of the CCRR team with North Shore Community Resources.

Workshop C4 - Creating Inclusive Culture

Jo Chahal is a dedicated passionate Early childhood educator since 2003 and through her journey has worn many hats. Being a mother of five has contributed to being a life long learner in the ece field. Jo thrives when the children around her thrive and reach the top of their own mountains. Creating an inclusive culture in the ECE world is what keeps her going. Currently Jo is the manager at Mount Pleasant Childcare association 3 Corners. She creates programs that are unique to each individual room through observation and needs of the children. Jo also is the founder for Nourishing Journeys and provide workshops that help educators, families and centers create meaningful workshops to suite individuals and program philosophy as well as creating inclusive spaces. She sees the children as capable, resilient and full of wonders and enjoys being a co researcher alongside all. 

Workshop C7 - Supporting grieving children: The variables that matter

Dr. Catherine Hajnal facilitates an understanding of trauma and the losses that emerge in the context of living a life.  Health, well-being, and empowerment are steadfast themes in her work.  She is affiliated with Lumara Grief & Bereavement Care Society, an organization that supports life after loss by bringing light to grief and sorrow, walking alongside children and families in unspeakable moments of trauma and loss  offering evidence-based bereavement care that nurtures healing and changes lives. 

Friday Afternoon Presenters (Session D):

Workshop D1: ECE Workforce Rights and Standards

Dr. Zeenat Janmohamed is the Executive Director and Senior Policy Analyst at the Atkinson Centre at the University of Toronto. Zeenat has a long history in partnership development with government, community organizations, and post-secondary institutions. Zeenat is involved in policy development and research, media and government relations.

Workshop D2: Nurturing Self-Care, Emotional Intelligence, and Strength-Based Communication for stronger teams in ECE.

Pooja Kalsi has a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from State university of New York. She has 25 years of experience in the Early childhood field as a teacher, facilitator, supervisor, director and instructor.  She is very passionate about finding ways to promote children's creativity and expression of discovery. She believes in the approach of caring for the educators and building powerful ECE teams through resilience. She currently teaches at Langara College in the ECE department. She is a mother of two children and believes that she continues to learn from the world around her.

Workshop D3 - Collaborative pedagogical documentation: what could that look like in your practice?

Sharon Carlson has been involved in the education sector for over 25 years in various roles (ECE Manager, Lecturer, and Professional Development Provider for the New Zealand Ministry of Education). She has a Bachelor of Teaching and has presented at numerous conferences worldwide as part of her professional development work for the EDtech company Storypark. She now specialises in supporting educators, services and organisations in maximising the potential and benefits of online collaboration and sharing using Storypark.

Workshop D4 - What's Next for the $10aDay Child Care System in BC?

Sharon Gregson is the provincial spokesperson for the $10aDay Child Care campaign working with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC. She was twice elected as a Trustee to the Vancouver Board of Education. She represents BC on the Board of Child Care Now. She was named by Business in Vancouver as one of the Power 50 in Vancouver in 2022 - and one of the top 500 most influential business leaders in British Columbia in 2022 and 2023.

Breanna Beatrie

Tân'si Brenna nisihkâson!
Hello my name is Brenna! I am Metis on my mother's side and European decent on my father's.

I've worked in the Early Years field since I was 19 and my first job was working with my preschool teacher!

I've been blessed to have worked with many ECEs and leaders who have helped shaped who I am today. I'm passionate about curriculum, specifically on how we can make it more cultural, intentional and co collaborative with the children. I love being outside and think it's incredibly beneficial for children to be on the land as much as possible.

In my spare time I'm enjoy lounging on the couch with my bulldog, painting and reading. I'm new to Vancouver Island so I'm really looking forward to exploring all it had to offer.

Maarsii/Thank you !


Leanne Shuparski

My name is Leanne Shuparski, I was raised and live in Trail BC with my two children. My family and I enjoy camping, music festivals and being active together in nature.


Jan Miettinen

Hi, I am Jan Miettinen, and I am excited and looking forward to the challenge of preparing a presentation and sharing my journey with LOT for the ECEBC Conference. I am in ch’át-lích (Sechelt) BC, where I am privileged to live, work, and play on and within the land of the shíshálh Nation. I am currently the coordinator of the Aboriginal On-Reserve Head Start/Building Blocks program at mem7iman Child Development Centre and working towards an ECE degree (there is light at the end of the tunnel) at Capilano University.

I have been an Early Childhood Educator since 1993 and enjoyed a variety of career paths within this diverse and challenging field. I continue to learn and be inspired by children, my sons, grandchildren, and the many people I continue to meet throughout this journey. Life can get busy (essay papers), and children help to ground me, drawing attention to the simplicity and joy within nature from the tiniest insect to the treasures discovered from the ebb and flow of the tides.

My grandson Miles shared with me, “learning to pump a swing is like unlocking a treasure box,” and these words continue to inspire me. I am forever curious, inspired by limitless discoveries found on a well-worn hiking path, hidden under a rock, or sprouting in a vegetable garden.


Johannah Camille Jordan

Camille is a new early childhood educator and currently cares for the precious little humans in the toddler group. Before getting into the early childhood education profession, she served extensively in the fields of coastal and marine science research and environmental planning. As a multi-passionate learner and a dreamer, she seeks different perspectives in honouring the diverse gifts of the people and the land. And with these, she hopes to contribute to meaningful journeys in the lives of children, families, and the community

Saturday Morning Presenters (Session E):

E1 - When there are no fences: Fearless Outdoor Exploration 

Norma Stokes is  an Early Childhood Educator with 35 years of experience working directly with children, families and other ECE's.  She believes in creating meaningful play experiences for children both in and outdoors and love to share this knowledge with others who work in the ECE field.

Workshop E3 - Walking Alongside Children with Exceptionalities 

Candy Ng and Ward Nakata are the Program Managers at Seedlings Early Childhood Development Hub for Aspire Richmond. From early childhood educators to outreach coordinator to program managers, they have had the privilege to work with the children and families in Richmond. With almost 50 combined years in this sector they bring a wealth of experiences and knowledge to share with their communities. Working at Aspire has ignited a passion for working alongside families with children with diverse abilities. Inclusive programming means that they are constantly reflecting on our pedagogy to inform our practices to ensure the children in all programs are able to thrive to their individual potentials.

Workshop E6 - Finding Your Why: Reigniting Your Passion - Part 1

Ewa has a Masters Degree in Pedagogy of Early Years Education and 25 years in the field as an educator, facilitator, programs and training coordinator, ECE instructor, and practicum facilitator. She believes that learning is an ongoing journey.

Daljit has been working in the ECE field for over a decade, as she is passionate about working with children and families. 

Tamara (They/She) has been an early childhood educator for over 10 years. Their passions are true inclusion, policy revolution, and embodied pedagogy. They love their kitty who is named Noodle.

Workshop E7 - The Story of Play

Catheryn and Emma created Mindful Early Childhood Educators as a way to share their knowledge and learning with fellow ECEs. Their passion for creating safe and enriching environments for children is what brought them together and empowered them on this journey to create quality and affordable Professional Development Opportunities. Their niche is Conflict Resolution, Child-led Practice, Play-First Approach, and Co-Regulation Practices. 

Workshop E8 - Re-envisioning Inclusion in Early Childhood Spaces

This will be a presentation by the Capilano University Children's Centre's manager, early childhood educators, and pedagogist. We will co-present with the family of a child with additional support needs.

Saturday Afternoon Presenters (Session F):

Workshop F1 - Journaling, meditation and the heart/mind connection.  Time to live YOUR life!

Paula has been working in child care centres since 1993 and also holds a license in infant/toddler and special needs. She currently owns and operates One Step Ahead Preschool in Lake Cowichan. For the last several years she has been expanding her own personal studies in meditation, visualization, consciousness and the heart/mind connection.

Workshop F2 Self-Awareness ~ The Strength Within

Kate Toye is a Self-Compassion coach, a mother, daughter, sister, auntie, and spouse. She is grateful that she gets to witness daily the transformation that self-compassion, parts work, somatic experiencing, and compassionate inquiry have had on her own life and with the people she is grateful she gets to work with. Kate loves gifting meditations and sharing resources and would love to stay connected, visit her at

Workshop F4 - Lively Experimentation with Rituals of Gathering 

April and Megan come to you from Vancouver, where they are both pedagogists with the ECPN. They each hold master's degrees in education, and each have more than two decades worth of experience working with children, educators, and families in community and educational settings. Pedagogically, they focus on slowing down to create meaningful deliberative encounters of aesthetic attunement with lifes rhythms, materials, land and place.

Workshop F5 - Enriching outcomes for children and families through digital tools

Peter has worked across many aspects of early childhood including professional development, researching the ECE profession globally, working with children who have additional needs and designing technologies in pursuit of meaningful impact.


Workshop F6 - Culturally Safe Spaces for Everyone

Jennie Roberts is Ojibway but, identifies as Stó:lō Xwelxwelmexw and resides on Tzeachten First Nation. She has been working with children and families for over 35 years. Jennie’s career started with work placements in high school in Victoria. She has a certificate in Early Childhood Education (ECE) through the University of the Fraser Valley in collaboration with Seabird Island 2004 (Graduated on Dean’s List). In 2005 she received her Special Needs License to Practice by attending night classes at the University of the Fraser Valley while working as a Head Start Coordinator at Seabird Island. Through a Seabird College collaboration with Northern Lights College, she was able to complete her Infant Toddler/ Early Childhood Education and Care Diploma in 2016, (graduated on Dean's List). In 2018, Jennie also completed her Speech and Language Assistant through Seabird College.  

In addition to working in child care and early learning settings, Jennie has experience as a parent, foster and adoptive parent. Jennie loves the new adventures of Grandparent and Great Grandparent.  Being a multi-parent of 10 children has provided new experiences and expertise with children that have experienced trauma and anxiety. As well as raising children with different abilities, Jennie received an Adoptive Parent Certification in 2018. Jennie’s philosophy is that children are reminders to us that we only live once, so make sure you take time to see the world through the eyes of the child you are engaging with.


Kirsten Bevelander is the Manager Aboriginal Child Care Resource and Referral Program. She is part of the ACCRR Advisors team which supports Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators and child care providers around the province through training, advocacy and sharing of resources.  Kirsten has worked with children and families for over 30 years, specializing in toddler care, children with additional needs, literacy learning and Aboriginal early child development and care. She is also an instructor for the Burnaby ECE Continuing Education Program.

Workshop F7 - The Wisdom of Food - How to Weave Nutrition into your Philosophy

Keely Freeman is the founder and Executive Director of Nanaimo Innovation Academy, a non-profit, licensed, multi-program daycare in Nanaimo.  Education has long been a passion of hers. Keely is most interested in innovative teaching methods and practices, especially those involving hands-on learning in nature. She started the daycare after years of inspiration working in the field of education, at the high school and university level. She was the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award for the 2021 BC Child Care Awards of Excellence.

Workshop F8 - Gender in the Classroom

Ashleigh Davies is an early childhood educator with her bachelors in ECCE and has worked with children in a variety of roles over the last decade. Ashleigh has worked as a post-secondary instructor, leading ECE post-basic courses, and currently is the CAPC Coordinator and member of the CCRR team with North Shore Community Resources.