Tom, Stu & You Podcast

Episode #32 - Raising Curious Kids with Kelly

July 20, 2020

In Episode #32, we have another absolutely incredible guest to share with you, and that’s the amazing Kelly MacAlpine! Kelly is a PHD candidate at Western University, focussing on early childhood environmental education, as well as the brilliant mother of three wonderful kids, one of which we have also had on the podcast, Jessie. Our conversation with Kelly is fantastic for so many reasons, but most importantly, because of the undeniable passion Kelly obviously has for the education of our children. She kept asking us to stop her if she’s talking too much, but as you’ll hear, we absolutely loved hearing what she had to say and we think you will too!


A bit of context before you listen: Kelly talks a lot about different pedagogies, including plastics and 'ghosting' pedagogies; pedagogies are just theories of learning which in this case, are applied to early childhood students. She also mentions 'non-human' relations which refer to animals, objects and nature as well as 'shadows of beings' which can be tracks left by wildlife or evidence of their passing through the area. 


To summarize Kelly's work as best we can, she studies the interactions of kids with their natural environment, and questions if we should instead be allowing them to remain imaginative and create their own stories of the world around them (eg. when it snows, it's because of a fictional snow monkey) rather than just giving them the "facts" and moving on. Do the stories created by kids actually create a greater connection with nature and therefore make them more responsible and considerate environmental human beings?


Key Message: In the name of what?


A few of the issues and topics we discuss in this episode:

  • Pedagogical studies (and what that actually means)
  • Thinking about waste
  • Education in the name of what?
  • Cultivating curiosity
  • The power of storytelling and the imagination
  • Response-abilities
  • Climate action network
  • Ruins of progress
  • The fictitious students
  • The power of youth
  • Parenting advice

“The children must engage in processes that move beyond neoliberal goals of productivity and consumption by formulating intentions that will allow them to pursue their curiosity in ways that will not always yield productive outcomes but will ultimately allow them to

build their competence while pursuing their curiosity in purposeful ways.” Witnessing the Ruins: Speculative Stories of Caring for the Particular and the Peculiar | Journal of Childhood Studies 

Further Resources:


Full show notes can be found at 


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