These resources were developed as a response to the gaps in knowledge, and requests for support that were identified in our national survey: Canada, Climate Change and Education: Opportunities for Public and Formal Education , as well as our experience delivering climate change PD workshops to teachers across the country.
The result? Three cross-curricular inquiry guides to support K-12 students across Canada.
K-2 and 3-6 Resource
Note: These new documents were developed based on the Inquiry structure used in "Empowering Learners in a Warming World" curated for grades 7-12 and originally created by the LSF in collaboration with Dr. Ellen Field, Dr. Karen Acton and Jennifer Stevens. Where appropriate for younger students, some information is repeated, Active Learning Strategies are referenced, and resources are used.
Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) would like to acknowledge the enduring presence of Indigenous peoples on the lands from across Turtle Island from which we wrote and from which you are now reading this guide. We would like to thank past, present, and future caretakers.
“Empowering the Youngest Learners in a Warming World” K-2 and “Empowering Young Learners in a Warming World” 3-6 were developed to support teachers in approaching climate change in an age-appropriate way with young students. These resources build on the “Empowering Learners in a Warming World” 7-12 guide that was launched in 2021.
Thank you to the experienced elementary educators: Deborah Miller, Janice Haines, Judy Halpern, Lynn Bristol and Nathalie Lauriault for their key contributions to the development of this resource and to Jennifer Stevens, LSF Manager of Learning, Research and Communication, who coordinated and edited the content, as well as designed the website. Thank you to Daniel Sylvestre for ensuring that Indigenous perspectives, content, and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion were carefully considered in Chapter 5. Thank you to Rabia Kokar for her careful review of Chapters 1 through 4 and thoughtful recommendations for addressing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Thank you to Julie McLean and Sylvie Nadeau for ensuring this resource is relevant and accessible for our Francophone learners. The development of these resources would not have been possible without the entire Learning for a Sustainable Future team, including Samantha Gawron, Manager of Programs, Engagement and Development, and Pamela Gibson, Learning Innovation Consultant. LSF would like to sincerely thank Natural Resources Canada and the BRACE program for supporting the creation of these resources.
This guide will be hosted electronically so that it can be updated, adapted, and modified as our learning about and response to climate change evolves. We look forward to the exciting contributions that teachers in the formal education system will make towards empowering learners in a warming world!
Deborah has thirty-two years of experience in education. She spent twenty-seven years as a French Immersion teacher and five years as a teacher librarian and technology support teacher in the Pembina Trails School Division. Deborah has served on divisional and provincial committees focused on curriculum development, textbook reviews and social justice programs. She enjoyed collaborating with teachers to foster students’ critical thinking and inquiry skills while encouraging teachers and students to explore sustainable development themes and concepts in their classrooms. Recently retired from education, Deborah has been part of the Resources for Rethinking teacher team since 2007 and has currently taken on a management role for Resources for Rethinking. She enjoys spending time in Pinawa surrounded by the boreal forest, wildlife and incredible natural beauty of the area.
Janice has been teaching for approximately 20 years and provides leadership in developing community partners to meet learning objectives. She has taught kindergarten to grade six and is passionate about learning outdoors. Her goal as an educator is to empower children so that they love learning, and become engaged citizens that create their future with sustainability in mind. A smart woman once told her that you can’t fall in love with something you have never met so “Get Outside”!
Judy Halpern, (MEd.) a qualified teacher of more than 25 years, created The Magic Suitcase: a literature-based Environmental Education program, in 1996. Her research involved using picture books to teach content, specifically in the area of science. Judy teaches pre-service teacher candidates at the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University and is a workshop presenter on inquiry-based learning. Her other experiences include: storytelling; teaching elementary to high school students; speaking at a host of conferences, leading cultural and educational tours to Nepal and writing and publishing teaching materials for young children. A walk in the woods, sharing wonderful books, fuels her passion for the importance of environmental education and her own natural curiosity.
Lynn Bristoll has worked for the Peel District School Board for 31 years in a variety of capacities. These include teaching in the primary and junior divisions, teacher librarian, board consultant and elementary vice-principal and school principal. During her career she was a member of numerous writing teams, developing supportive teaching documents and worked for a stint for a publishing company. Recently retired as principal from a school advocating learning outdoors and piloting LSF’s "Sustainable Future Schools", she continues to promote the value of these approaches as a means of integrating the numerous demands placed on educators. Personally Lynn enjoys hiking, reading and gardening, and looks forward to extending her travels.
Nathalie Lauriault has had numerous opportunities to teach in many different settings; from the French Immersion program in the public system, to independent schools in Canada, England and France. Throughout her teaching career, she has maintained a high level of competency in current educational research. She is the co-author of the book Tool for Teaching Conceptual Understanding-Elementary (2017). She is an educator who is dedicated to hands-on, experience-based learning for nourishing creative and curious minds. She encourages a positive attitude to learning by engaging students in inquiries and developing their awareness of the process of learning so that they become lifelong learners. In her spare time, Nathalie dances, bikes, hikes and practices Power Yoga.
Jennifer Stevens is the Manager of Learning, Research and Communication at Learning for a Sustainable Future. At LSF she works to implement programming, conduct research, and integrate the ideals for a sustainable future into the Canadian school system by working with youth directly and supporting parents and teachers. Jennifer holds a Masters of Child Study and Education from the Jackman Institute of Child Studies at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from Queen’s University. She is passionate about all things outdoors and is always looking for new ways to integrate sustainable ideals into her life and work.
Dr. Karen Acton
Dr. Karen Acton is an educator with over 30 years of experience in both the elementary and secondary panels as a science teacher, department head, principal, and Education Officer at the Ministry of Education. Dr. Acton obtained her doctorate at OISE at the University of Toronto and her research focused on the motivation, supports and barriers of environmental teacher leadership. She used this knowledge in her role as Environmental Sustainability Lead in her school board to champion policy and procedure changes, and to successfully achieve 100% EcoSchools status. Dr. Acton is currently teaching at Western University and at OISE. She is also a consultant for Learning for a Sustainable Future, where she uses her passion to help spread the word on climate justice.