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T-shirt campaign aims to start conversation about early years education

If you see an ECE wearing one of these t-shirts, you're encouraged to ask about it
190617_HU_Daycare_TShirts
Staff at the St. Paul site of Discovery Early Learning and Care pose in their t-shirts promoting best practices for early learning in Ontario. In the top row, from left, are  Suzanne Marcon, Christina Sitko, Tanya Taylor and Melissa Bosse. In the bottom row, from left, are Chantal Gentili and Tracy Liinamaa. (Heidi Ulrichsen/Sudbury.com)

If you have young kids in daycare in Greater Sudbury, and you've seen the early childhood educators (ECEs) who work there wearing brightly coloured t-shirts with different statements on them, you're encouraged to ask about them.

The t-shirts were distributed to local ECEs by the children's services department at the City of Greater Sudbury.

They were created to improve communication between ECEs and families about best practices for early childhood learning in Ontario.

Specifically, they refer to “How Does Learning Happen?”, the early years pedagogy released by the province in 2014.

The t-shirts feature the following statements:

  • Ask me how our program respects children as competent and capable
  • Ask me how we support children learning to self-regulate
  • Ask me how children learn through play
  • Ask me how learning happens in relationships

Laura Urso, program co-ordinator of children's services with the City of Greater Sudbury, said 750 of the t-shirts were distributed to staff at daycares and Best Start Hubs in the area a few months ago.

“The t-shirts have a question about one of the four foundations on each of them,” she said. “What we've done is we have worked to have the staff ready to answer those questions. 

“The educators in the professional development would create answers to those questions, and they would prepare to answer if any parent or colleague asks them about that.”

Tracy Saarikoski, executive director of Discovery Early Learning and Care, said she's implemented the t-shirt program at her facilities, and parents have been engaging with her staff about the t-shirts.

“It shows them the value of the work that we're doing and the relationships that we're building with the children,” she said.

“We're helping parents understand that children are actually learning through play, and that's the foundation of our pedagogy here in the city and with Discovery Early Learning and Care.”