Environmental Education Initiative

Natural Curiosity

In 2009, the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School received a considerable grant from the Norman and Marian Robertson Charitable Foundation, anonymous donations, and artist Edward Burtynsky, to embark on a two-year project to advance and disseminate its integrated and inquiry-based approach to Environmental Education.

The Initiative’s main objective was to provide Ontario elementary school teachers with reassurance, clarity, and options for putting environmental inquiry into practice. A resource, Natural Curiosity: Building Children’s Understanding of the World Through Environmental Inquiry, was developed to offer a framework for learning shaped by students’ questions and theories – their natural curiosity – as they explore their environment.

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The first edition of Natural Curiosity began to reflect Indigenous approaches to learning in significant ways. 

In 2014, members of the Laboratory School’s Natural Curiosity team realized, through conversations with educators from Johnny Therriault School on Aroland First Nation, how much there still was to learn about situating Indigenous perspectives into Canadian curricula. Thank you to the contributing Elders, educators, and Advisory Board for starting us on this journey, and for motivating us to find support for the second edition.

"I actually cried when I read it. I said to myself, they're finally starting to get it!"
Anishinaabe Elder retired elementary school teacher,
after reading the first edition

Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry supports a stronger awareness of Indigenous approaches to environmental learning. It offers an encounter with Indigenous perspectives that challenge us to think in very different ways about our place in the world. The Indigenous lens in this edition provides a starting point in a conversation that opens educators’ eyes to Indigenous perspectives as their students build lasting connections with the natural world.

The second edition launched in 2018 and is available to order in print and online at www.naturalcuriosity.ca

Please contact Brenda Simon for more information.