Self-Guided Learning Series
Designed for self-guided learning, this free program includes a 5-part instructional video series that provides an introductory exploration of Natural Curiosity’s four-branch environmental inquiry framework, deepened by Indigenous perspectives.
Natural Curiosity: The Four Branches & Indigenous Lenses
This video introduces the Natural Curiosity pedagogy, developed at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, OISE-University of Toronto. It references the resource, Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition, alongside its authors and leading practitioners to define environmental inquiry, and how it relates to Indigenous perspectives.
We'd like to credit Dr. Brigitte Evering (Trent University) for her deep work on knowledge constellations and thinking around wampum-inspired relationships co-developed with Maria Vamvalis. Credits are further extended to Dr. Dan Longboat – Roronhiakewen (He Clears the Sky) and his teachings around the Two Row Wampum and the Silver Covenant Chain Wampum for greatly influencing these ideas.
This video introduces the first branch of the Natural Curiosity pedagogy, “Inquiry and Engagement”. Connections to Indigenous perspectives on heart-based, community-oriented learning, are drawn through discussion about the Indigenous lens on Branch I, “Lighting the Fire”. Leading educators discuss their role in provoking and supporting authentic student questions throughout an inquiry, with help from the land as co-teacher and using stories as a tool for deepening the learning.
For deeper learning around Branch I and Indigenous Lens 1, refer to p. 11-64 in Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry.
This video introduces the second branch of Natural Curiosity, "Experiential Learning". The Indigenous perspective of “Sending Out Roots” expands on the notion of experiential learning to include a sense of deep rootedness in place. Educators share the importance of nurturing children’s sense of place in a nearby piece of the natural world, and the transformative impact that learning “in” the land can have on children throughout the grades.
For deeper learning around Branch II and Indigenous Lens 2, refer to p. 65-87 in Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry.
This video introduces the third branch of Natural Curiosity, “Integrated Learning”. Educators discuss the importance of providing students rich and integrated learning experiences that reflect the complexity of real life. The Indigenous lens, “The Flow of Knowledge”, expands on conventional ideas around integration in education to include a profoundly personal, as well as communal perspective that is informed both by seven generations into the past and future. Educators discuss the importance of engaging community and local Indigenous partners in respectful relationships as an essential component of integrated learning.
For deeper learning around Branch III and Indigenous Lens 3, refer to p. 88-108 in Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry.
Natural Curiosity: Branch IV & Indigenous Lens 4
This video introduces the fourth branch of Natural Curiosity, “Moving Towards Sustainability”. Shifting from a stewardship-oriented model of environmental inquiry, the Indigenous Lens on Branch 4: “Breathing With The World”, promotes a more holistic goal of supporting the development of reciprocal relationships between children and the natural world. Developmental considerations for engaging children in learning about the natural world in ways that sensitively integrate agency, knowledge, hope, and a sense of responsibility, are discussed.
For deeper learning around Branch IV and Indigenous Lens 4, refer to p. 109-139 in Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry.
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Sincere gratitude is extended to the guest speakers and contributors of this series:
Doug Anderson (Bungee/Métis), Co-Author of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition, Creative Director, Invert Media
Chriss Bogert, Vice Principal, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School
Julie Comay (OISE-UofT), Co-Author of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition
Haley Higdon, Director, Natural Curiosity Program
Rachel Irwin, Videographer
Kim Kirk, Indigenous Education Leader, Rainy River District School Board
Norah L’Espérance, Nursery Teacher, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School
Richard Messina, Principal, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School
Tanya Murray, Coordinator, Curriculum and Instructional Services, K-12 Outdoor and Environmental Education and Healthy Schools, York Region District School Board
Raadiyah Nazeem, Grade 1 Teacher, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School
David Osorio, Grade 2 Teacher, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School
Zach Pedersen, Program Coordinator, The Robertson Program for Inquiry-Based Teaching in Math and Science
Krista Spence, Teacher-Librarian and Land-Based Education Resource Teacher, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School
Carol Stephenson, Senior Kindergarten Teacher, Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School
Tiiu Strutt, Artist/Educator (www.landheartsong.com/), Teacher, Prince Charles Public School, York Region District School Board
Maria Vamvalis, Transformative Climate Change Education Consultant, Natural Curiosity Coach, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto
Michael White (Bear Clan–Anishinaabe), Director of First Nations House, University of Toronto