Partner Feature: Natural Curiosity

Natural Curiosity (NC) is an environmental education program based out of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at  the University of Toronto. NC helps educators across Turtle Island (North America) embrace the natural world as a place of learning, curiosity and reciprocity, to transform their practice and create generations of lifelong learners with the experiences necessary to tackle the environmental challenges of the 21st century.

Launched in 2011, NC set out to demonstrate how an inquiry-based approach could enable educators to meet Ministry expectations to include environmental education throughout the curriculum. NC introduced a four-branch framework for environmental inquiry based on a transformative vision of education, dynamically combining inquiry-based learning, experiential learning, integrated learning, and stewardship.

In the wake of the strong and unequivocal recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring Indigenous perspectives into the heart of Canadian educational settings, NC was further developed in collaboration with Indigenous educators to include Indigenous perspectives, leading to Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children’s Environmental Inquiry. The resource is now being brought to life across Turtle Island, thousands of educators continue to embrace the possibilities offered by this evolving approach and, with their students, find new ways to meaningfully and joyfully engage with the natural world, in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation.

NC continues to provide transformative professional learning at the intersection of Indigenous perspectives and environmental inquiry in classroom education and beyond, through a wide array of channels: 

The Book (NC2): The second edition of Natural Curiosity supports a stronger basic awareness of Indigenous perspectives and their importance to environmental education. The Indigenous lens in this edition represents a cross-cultural encounter supporting what can become an ongoing dialogue and evolution of practice in environmental inquiry, supported by 15 educator stories from Ontario. The second edition is also available in French.
Workshops: NC provides workshops on environmental inquiry and the Indigenous lens on Natural Curiosity in collaboration with schools, school boards, teacher education programs, and Indigenous and environmental education organizations.

Webinars: NC runs a series of webinars all year round. Our 2021-2022 series, “Recovery, Reflection, and Reciprocity”, aims to share the important lessons we learned about connection, wellbeing, and reciprocal relationships toward a common goal – to make learning on the land an essential part of environmental and all education in post-COVID times. NC also partners with like-minded organizations to offer collaborative webinars. Stay tuned for our upcoming OLS webinar, “Singing in Solidarity: Exploring Environmental Inquiry and Justice Through the Arts”, on January 27th with NC Facilitator Velvet Lacasse!
Online Group Coaching: Coaching groups provide educators with the opportunity to transform and/or deepen their Natural Curiosity teaching practice by providing a safe online space for open conversation, community and collegial friendship. This inquiry-led, small group of educators will meet virtually for 2 hours monthly, over the course of 7 months, to unpack key principles in Natural Curiosity.

  • Early Year–Primary Group Coach: Velvet Lacasse
  • Junior–Senior Coach: Maria Vamvalis

Two new groups commencing in January 2022.

Newsletters: Our monthly newsletter, Making the Shift, provides educators with a plethora of information including upcoming and past webinars, upcoming conferences, educator resources, and much more. Join our community today!
Educator Stories: NC continues to highlight inspiring educator stories on our website. Our annual Burtynsky and Suzuki awards (launching in Spring) recognize exemplary educators in both in-service and pre-service environmental education. If you would like to share your story with the Natural Curiosity community, send us an email at:


Keep in touch with Natural Curiosity on social media!