Making The Shift is a monthly newsletter to share stories, resources, and ideas around environmental education through inquiry-based learning. Let's collaborate!
2016 Outstanding Laboratory School Award


The International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) has named the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study (JICS) winner of the 2016 Outstanding Laboratory School Award.

This award recognizes the Lab School staff as exemplary educators to children and teacher-candidates.  It also acknowledges the contributions to educational research both by working with researchers in their classes and by modelling what it means to be a teacher/researcher.  The Lab School’s commitment to professional development and their commitment to innovative curriculum design is also highlighted by this award.

Richard Messina, JICS principal, accepted the award in Puerto Rico on April 27th, 2016, at the International Association of Laboratory Schools annual conference.

“The JICS school community is very excited about this award. It recognizes the hard work and creativity of our teachers, the involvement of our partners, and the guidance we receive from our scholars.” - Richard Messina

Riding the Wave: Inquiry from the Office Out

“In the Fall of 2014, three of my keenest young staff returned from PD within our school board, inspired by a resource and the inquiry process it detailed, as a highly engaging and effective change in practice. School data indicated that our students were disengaged from their learning and lacked a voice in determining that learning.  There was an urgent need to “do” school differently. Enter Inquiry!

As a principal trying to move a school forward, it was critical that I recognized the enthusiasm of these developing school leaders, honoured the passion they bring to change, tempered it with wisdom, managed the pace of change for everyone, supported teacher growth, and facilitated staff learning along with my own.

With a team approach, we have spent three years enhancing our individual understanding and growing shared capacity, creating the right school culture to allow this change in practice to emerge, supporting each other in our attempts, and “doing” school differently for our students. We are far from perfect, have many pieces to continue to refine and improve, and still more pieces to add, such as the power that environmentally-based inquiry can add to our community. We’re working on it and Natural Curiosity is a a great resource to support our school on this journey!

The September 2015 Natural Curiosity - Making the Shift newsletter featured a chalk quote - “Inquiry is the wave of the future.” I say RIDE IT! Recognize the power inquiry has to transform practice, the opportunity it presents to honour student voice and ground them in a rapidly changing world, and the hope it provides for twenty-first century learners to make a difference.  

Susan Davis, Principal
Thames Valley District School Board

Inquiry - An Easy Method to Get Started
By Catherine Sherlock
One of the central ideas of inquiry-based learning is that students’ questions and ideas are at the core of their learning experience. Like anything new, inquiry-based learning can feel awkward initially – for both teachers and students. For teachers, the inquiry-based process is a lot more open ended (ie. scary!). Teachers take on more of a learning facilitator role.

Students who have become used to sitting back passively and being told what to do may also find the change unnerving. Some teachers in our programs have reported that sometimes it’s the students who thrived under the old system who struggle most with the transition. One noted that it upended the classroom dynamics, and it was amusing to watch previous academic strugglers explaining and helping out the traditional academic achievers.

Awards of Excellence in Environmental Education and Communication

EECOM’s Awards of Excellence recognize individuals and organizations who have collectively influenced hundreds of thousands of Canadian citizens, and helped implement one of EECOM’s key goals – to advance environmental learning, ensuring Canadians are environmentally literate, engaging in environmental stewardship and contributing to a healthy, sustainable future. Deadline for nominations is May 20th, 2016Apply today! 

Choose the Future: Environmental Education for a Culture of Change
International Peace Garden, Manitoba
August 25-28, 2016
Registration now open!

David Suzuki’s 30x30 Challenge

This May, the David Suzuki Foundation is challenging you and people around the world to join the 30x30 Challenge by spending 30 minutes a day in nature for 30 days. Are you or your class participating in David Suzuki’s #30x30Challenge? Tweet us and tell us how it is going.

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Natural Curiosity: Building Children's Understanding of the World Through Environmental Inquiry
Copyright © 2012 Natural Curiosity. All rights reserved.
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