Natural Curiosity

Program Advisors


Vice Principal

Chriss Bogert is a guest on Turtle Island and is the Vice Principal at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Lab School. She was formally the Teacher Librarian at JICS and is dedicated to teaching students about social and environmental justice issues using a critical literacy and inquiry approach. Chriss was one of the assisting writers and editors of both editions of the Natural Curiosity resource.



Richard Messina is Principal of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (JICS) Laboratory School at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), which aims to explore what is possible in education and to provide insights into teaching and learning for the benefit of public school teachers and students. Prior to his appointment as Principal, Richard served as Vice Principal, Teacher, and Researcher for the JICS Lab School. He holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto and is currently a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at OISE.


Managing Editor

Haley Higdon is the Program Director of Natural Curiosity and the Managing Editor of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry. She oversees the implementation of professional development workshops surrounding the new edition of Natural Curiosity and liaises with environmental organizations, school boards, and teachers on inquiry-based environmental education practices. Haley is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Child Study and Education program, and is a member of the board of The Canadian Network of Environmental Education and Communication.


Author of Natural Curiosity

Lorraine is the creator of the first edition of Natural Curiosity: Building Children’s Understanding of the World through Environmental Inquiry. Lorraine Chiarotto is an Ontario Certified Teacher, lover of nature, and author of the first edition of Natural Curiosity (2011). Lorraine earned her MA in Child Study and Education at the Institute of Child Study where she discovered and fell in love with inquiry-based learning. From there, she began her career as a member of the teaching staff at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School (JICS). Lorraine was appointed with the task of creating Natural Curiosity by researching, documenting, and sharing the Lab School’s environmental inquiry approach with all educators. Lorraine currently teaches at Centennial Infant and Child Centre, a preschool for children with special needs. A proud young mother, her favourite pastime is spending entire days outdoors with her two little boys… enjoying nature



Christine Higdon is the co-editor of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition. She is an editor, graphic designer, and writer, and the author of the novel The Very Marrow of Our Bones. She was honoured to be asked work on this project.



Tracy Pryce is co-editor of the second edition of Natural Curiosity. A freelance editor, she has contributed to various publications, manuscripts, and texts in academic, professional, and prose forms. Tracy is currently a student of the Adult Education and Community Development program (M.Ed.) at OISE, U of T, and is researching the practice and pedagogy of writing and narrative, the role of narrative as a critical tool for uniting people and communities, and the efficacy of narrative in therapy. Tracy is dedicated to the project of reconciliation in Canada and has collaborated on education projects related to the resurgence of Indigenous people with friends and colleagues Jennifer Wemigwans and Doug Anderson.


Author of the Indigenous Lens on Natural Curiosity

Doug (Métis) is the Creative and Strategic Director at Invert Media. He has consulted extensively on education and program development for Aboriginal communities across Canada for over 20 years. Since 2001, he has devoted much of his energy to research and writing on Indigenous histories and cultures, and translating them to contemporary education systems and media. He enjoys the challenge of designing and building new platforms for representing Indigenous knowledge, and is committed to preserving these forms of knowledge and presenting them as models for thinking and problem solving in the 21st century. Mr. Anderson worked at both the government and community levels for many years in the development and evaluation of learning programs, and has many years of front line experience in building learning and training opportunities for community members of all ages and levels of learning.


Co-Author of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition

Julie Comay was a classroom teacher at the Lab School and in Toronto public schools for over 20 years and currently works with graduate education students at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute for Child Study. In 2009, she received a PhD from OISE/UT for research focused on the growth of narrative skill and social understanding in young children. As a researcher and practitioner with a strong interest in children’s play, Julie has collaborated with teachers, academic researchers, and community members to design and implement engaging literacy and math programs in Ontario elementary schools. The opportunity to work in First Nation communities in northwest Ontario with the Robertson Program for Inquiry-Based Teaching in Mathematics and Science kindled her interest in Indigenous education. She was honoured to participate in writing this new edition of Natural Curiosity.

Natural Curiosity

2nd Edition Contributors

Natural Curiosity

2nd Edition Advisory Board



Vernon Douglas (Biidaabun), Anishinaabe Elder (family from Mnjikaning). Cultural Advisor, Department of Indigenous Studies, Trent University (2000-2011, retired). Founding member of Indigenous Studies Ph.D Council, Trent University (1998- present). Native Education Advisor, Toronto District School Board (1991-2000). Program Director, Sacred Circle Native Education Program, Edmonton Public Schools (1981- 1985). Classroom teacher, West Parry Sound Board of Education (1969-1981).

Educators Who Contributed Their Stories

Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition


Junior/Senior Kindergarten, Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, Toronto District School Board (TDSB)

Educators Who Contributed Their Stories

Natural Curiosity 1st Edition


Senior Kindergarten, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School

(416) 934-4517

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