On May 4 and 5, Early Learning at MacEwan invited community partners and families to help celebrate the centre’s 50th anniversary.

Lee Makovichuk, now an assistant professor in the university’s Department of Human Services and Early Learning, was one of the first educators at that new centre, having been hired right after she graduated from the Early Childhood Development Program. Makovichuk and her faculty colleagues, who co-authored Flight: Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework, have shared front-row seats to the changes at ELM and perspectives on early childhood over the past 30 years. 

The move to City Centre Campus was a shift in place and perspective. “Early childhood is an evolving field of study,” says Makovichuk. “We understand that children's social and cultural experiences are significant to their learning and this knowledge has influenced how we think about and plan for curriculum.”

Throughout its history, the relationship between the program and the lab school has illuminated an essential bridge between theory and practice. Students gain opportunities to explore ideas they learn in the classroom as real-life opportunities for children, and ELM educators have always presented in classes about their practice with children that brings the theory students learn to life. Research into child care has also flourished through ELM.

Building on that solid foundation, ELM continues to shift and grow – not unlike the children under its care. This year, ELM’s educators completed federal Tri-Council research ethics training and are now officially co-researchers alongside faculty members in the Department of Human Services and Early Learning.

“Oftentimes, the works of educators can go unnoticed,” says Brittany Aamot, a senior manager with ELM. “But educators do important work, creating caring environments and engaging in significant conversations about children’s rights and curriculum.”

One way educators share the outcomes of that work and their practice is through carefully curated stories that encourage and shape conversations. Several of those stories are highlighted in an exhibit unveiled as part of the anniversary celebrations. Aamot has plans for the exhibit to make its way into libraries and other community organizations and facilities over the coming months.

“This is a time of unprecedented funding for this sector and professional learning for educators,” says Makovichuk. “MacEwan and ELM are well-situated to be an instrumental model of relational, professional learning situated within the day-to-day experiences of children and families. We need to be able to share that beyond ELM’s walls.”

Another 50-year celebration
Last year, as the university marked its 50th year, we celebrated in many ways. Check out this historical timeline that includes many of MacEwan's milestones.
See the timeline

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