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How are children to grow up and know what things are important to save and protect if they can’t even name them?


INFLUENTIAL SHIFTS AND RESOURCES


There are moments in one’s teaching career when you can look back and pinpoint a shift of practice. Such a shift happened for me five years ago when I was involved in a profes- sional learning opportunity with Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF). The facilitator po- sitioned the educator not as knowledge keeper but rather as a keen observer and questioner who felt comfortable transferring the power of knowing over to students. We explored strate- gies that developed knowledge and ideas while allowing students to drive their own learning, leading to responsible citizenship. This trans- formative framework, along with LSF’s Con- necting the Dots and Resources for Rethinking resources helped to shape how I facilitated outdoor learning experiences for students. Through the LSF team, I was also intro-


duced to Natural Curiosity, which recently released a second edition of their resource. Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: A Resource for Educators highlights the importance of Indigenous perspectives in children’s envi- ronmental inquiry. It invites non-Indigenous teachers to welcome these perspectives into their practice with humility and a greater understanding of truth, reconciliation and land-based education. The teachers’ stories in this resource are a great starting point to help make connections to a variety of different el- ementary curricular areas.


EXPLORING NEARBY NATURE


With continued urban development and a shift toward more indoor-based learning, students may not have had the opportunity to explore and build a relationship with nature. We need to meet students where they are. Place-based education has gained traction because it uses local spaces and issues to make sense of com- plex environmental topics, bringing relevance and engagement to learning. It also makes learning in nature more financially accessible and invites rich inquiry opportunities. For those just getting started, try begin-


ning to shift toward an outdoor mindset. It helps to begin with an asset-based approach and engage students in conversation. Ask “What can we do outside? What is possible?” Look at a map of your outdoor spaces and determine what captures students’ interest. “Where would you like to explore as a group? What might live in the spaces around our


ELEMENTARY TEACHERS’ FEDERATION OF ONTARIO 31


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