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A New 2021 Series! Embracing the Shift
In 2020, we brought you Natural Curiosity in the New Normal, a four-part conversation about getting outside and staying outside amid COVID-19. We highlighted an Indigenous lens on the current crisis in education, and invited educators to slow down and embrace the natural world as co-teacher. In our continuing series, Embracing the Shift: Sharing Our Pandemic Stories of Connecting to Land and Children’s Natural Curiosity, we hope to build on these foundational ideas, with more educator stories to further unpack the principles and practices laid out in Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition.
On January 14th, 2021, we kicked off our new webinar series with Lighting the Fire: Enriching Environmental Learning through Indigenous Perspectives during COVID-19. We were joined by Doug Anderson (Author of the Indigenous Lens on Natural Curiosity) and David Osorio (Grade 2 Teacher, JICS Lab School), who shared about their yearlong collaboration of connecting students to local nature, through story, inquiry, and other heart-centred approaches to education that bridge Indigenous and Western ways of knowing.
The webinar hosted by Haley Higdon in December, 2020, inspired me to read Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition. It speaks directly to teachers in support of our outdoor learning inquiry experience. I especially appreciate the indigenous perspective. Connection to place, land, nature and community is what teaching and learning are all about. This well researched and easy to read book supports this pedagogy entirely. We are hoping to ignite the spark of natured based inquiry learning with Natural Curiosity across our K-5 elementary school. Thank you for the inspiration!
Classroom Teacher Grade 2/3, South Nelson Elementary School, Nelson, BC
Natural Curiosity in the New Normal
This four-part webinar series has been designed to support you in your return to school during extraordinary times, so that you can enrich outdoor time with learning in all areas of curriculum, while building community with your students and safeguarding everyone’s health. Chi-miigwetch and thank you to those who joined the conversation – we look forward to supporting you again throughout 2021.
This series is now complete and available for you to access below.
Educator Strategies for Getting and Staying Outside
25th August, 2020
In the first webinar of this series, we heard from recent award winners of Natural Curiosity’s Burtynsky Award for Teaching Excellence in Environmental Education: Jennifer Baron (Teacher at YRDSB) and Miriam Snell (Teacher at Tamarack West Outdoor School, as well as Jay Field, Principal at Tamarack West.
Access Webinar Part 1 recording here
A COVID-look at the Indigenous Lens on Natural Curiosity
17th September, 2020
This webinar highlighted an Indigenous lens on the current crisis in education. Indigenous perspectives, as well as land-based learning and inquiry, invited us to embrace the outdoors and our local environment with our speakers. Doug Anderson and Maria Vamvalis shared their knowledge and expertise in decolonizing pedagogy as we venture outdoors to protect the health and wellbeing of students and teachers.
Access Webinar Part 2 recording here
Grounding Virtual Learning in the Land and Relationship
6th October, 2020
In Part 3, we welcomed two educators from the York Region District School Board: Tanya Murray, Outdoor Experiential Learning Consultant, and Natasha Bascevan, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Consultant. In response to COVID, both Tanya and Natasha are now teaching in the virtual classroom. They shared their emerging strategies for continuing to cultivate community, natural curiosity, relationship, and reciprocity in a virtual classroom, and the strengths they bring to their learning communities.
Access Webinar Part 3 recording here
Using School Grounds Effectively to Enrich Learning
12th November, 2020
In the final webinar of our four-part series, we welcome Julie Whitfield, principal at Humewood Public School, TDSB, Steve Smith, baseball coach at the Toronto Playgrounds, and Ticia Heibein, kindergarten teacher at Forest Hill, TDSB. In this webinar, we will highlight the school ground as the place for teaching and learning, through play and natural curiosity. We will consider the small brave steps that begin to implement these ideas, through free play, guided play and inquiry. We invite participants to reflect on their unique teaching circumstances, opportunities and strengths that they bring to their learning communities.
Access Webinar Part 4 recording here