Meet Your Instructors


Dr. Anna Kirova
Dr. Anna Kirova

I am a Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. I hold a PhD in early childhood education from the University of Sofia (1987), Bulgaria, and a PhD in elementary education from the University of Alberta (1996) Canada. Since the mid 1990s my research has focused on the need for understanding the culturally and linguistically diverse children’s experiences of schooling and the possibility such an understanding offers for culturally responsive pedagogy. My research is community-oriented, with the primary goal of improving learning contexts for young children facing significant societal barriers, particularly refugee and immigrant children. It challenged the notion that children from nondominant cultural/ethnic backgrounds are lacking agency, competence, and knowledge.

Through the development of innovative research methods that do not depend solely on language to reach young children who are learners of English, my research opened pedagogical possibilities for building on children, family and community’s strengths and competencies. It suggested how educators can support the role children as cultural navigators and negotiators play in their families’ integration into the host society.

Over the span of my 25-year academic career in North America, I have taught courses in Early Childhood Education as a full-time faculty member in the USA (Oakland University) and Canada (University of Alberta), as well as a visiting scholar at the University of Vienna (Austria) and Bielefeld University (Germany).

Courses taught in GCES - Early Childhood Education:
EDU 542 Schools as Welcoming and Inclusive Environments for All Students


Dr. Linda Laidlaw
Dr. Linda Laidlaw

I am a professor working in the area of Early Literacy in the Department of Elementary Education. I have a B.A. in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria, a B.Ed from the University of Toronto, an M.A. in Education from Simon Fraser University, and a PhD from York University.

I started my career at the University of Alberta in 2001, and teach primarily in the areas of early literacy, literacy education and qualitative methodologies. My current research focuses on digital literacies and children’s, parents and teacher’s perspectives as children navigate changing digital worlds and expanding literacy practices.

Courses taught in GCES - Early Childhood Education:
EDU 543 Supporting Languages and Literacies in Early Childhood


Dr. Lynn McGarvey
Dr. Lynn McGarvey
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Hello! I started my teaching career as a mathematics and physical education teacher in Red Deer after earning a BEd from the University of Alberta. After realizing that my students were not quite as enthusiastic about mathematics as I was, I returned to post-secondary education to broaden my awareness and understanding of mathematics curriculum, pedagogy, and learning. I started by taking a couple of graduate classes in the evening, which led to the completion of an MEd from the University of Calgary and then a PhD from the University of Alberta.

I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with preservice and in-service teachers for over 25 years as a mathematics education professor in the Department of Elementary Education. Throughout that time, my research has focused primarily on young children’s mathematical understanding within the contexts of spatial and algebraic reasoning.

Courses taught in GCES - Early Childhood Education:
EDU 540 Facilitating Young Children's Mathematical Understanding


Dr. Larry Prochner
Dr. Larry Prochner

Welcome to the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies, Early Childhood Education. I am a Professor in Early Childhood Education (ECE) in the Department of Elementary Education. I earned a Bachelor of ECE from Ryerson University, my MA in Educational Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, and an EdD in ECE at the University of Toronto.

I joined the U of A in 2003 after ten years at Concordia University. My research area is the history and theory of ECE in international and comparative perspective: my current focus is nature education in early childhood settings. I’ve taught courses on early learning environments, play, child development, and school-home-community relationships.

Courses taught in GCES - Early Childhood Education:
EDU 541 Play and the Use of Playful Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education