Embracing Our Power: ECE Students’ Experiences Creating Spaces of Resistance in Post-Secondary Institutions


  • Camila Casas Hernandez Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Luyu Hu Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE), Ontario
  • Tammy Primeau McNabb Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Grace Wolfe Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE), Ontario




In this paper, we, four students with diverse social locations, explore the development of preservice educators’ professional identities as political resisters. Through our experiences in an Ontario college, we found commonality in our emerging need to resist “alarming discourses” (Whitty et al., 2020, p. 8). By dissecting and analyzing the neoliberal narrative perpetuated by our educational institution, we refused the notion of being the good ECE (Langford, 2007). Rejecting the universalism and totalism of Western European curricular and pedagogical inheritances, we set out to create a space to embrace alternative narratives to critically question our role and the expectations of our profession in a neoliberal world. This space was used for ECEC advocacy and brought together our student community, creating an opportunity to mentor while fostering human connections from our stories. Through collaboration, we reaffirm the importance of building community and reciprocal mentorship for nurturing and developing political agency within our field. We are motivated to sustain this critical space, to serve as a place of resistance for other students who question “universal truths.” Education comes from more than the diploma received.

Keywords: Early childhood educators, professional identity, resistance, student advocacy, post-secondary institutions, ethics of care