• Magdalena [Rudkowski] Dobrogost

    magdalena rudkowski, magdalena dobrogost, maggie rudkowski, maggie dobrogost


    Magdalena Dobrogost holds a Ph.D in Curriculum Theory and Implementation from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Her research centers on young children's experiences and connections with natural environments by using child-centered research methodologies. Magdalena's other interests include children's yoga and storytelling, by holding workshops for early childhood and educators on practical ways to incorporate yoga in their everyday world.


    Magdalena is currently residing in the Bay Area, San Francisco.


    Doctoral Dissertation available: The complexity of understanding: Young children’s experiences in a forest program


    Please contact for inquiries or questions.




  • Presentations and Publications

    [* formerly known as Magdalena Rudkowski]



    Rudkowski, M (2014, December). "A Reflection on Forest Experiences." The Green Teacher, 105. Retrieved from http://greenteacher.com/a-reflection-on-forest-experiences/


    Rudkowski, M. (2014). “Fostering emotional wellbeing: Personal reflections from an early childhood forest program.” Children, Youth and Environments 24(3): 80-91.


    Rudkowski, M. (2011). “Children’s Thoughts and Feelings Regarding Nature in Two Types of Locations: Comparisons and Implications.” Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, 2.1.


    MacDonald, Margaret; Rudkowski, Magdalena & Hostettler Scharer, Janine. (2012). Jean Jacque Rousseau’s c18th images of mothers, fathers and children. Canadian Children , 1(38), p.21.



    Young Children’s experiences at a forest program (2014, February). Keynote Presentation: Early Childhood Educators: Professionals in the education community. Burnaby, B.C: Burnaby Mountain Educators Conference.

    Conference Proceedings


    Spaceships, Sharks and Star-Wars: Young Children's Lived Experiences in a Forest Program (2014, June). Imaginative

    Education Research Group: The great workhorse of learning. Vancouver, British Columbia: Simon Fraser University.


    Outdoor Forest Program: Young Children’s Experiences (2014, June). Growing Knowledge: Sharing and Building on Learning Outdoors in the Early Years. Victoria: B.C: Royal Roads University.


    How do the four-year-old children experience an outdoor forest program? (2014, May). The ‘Wild’ Classroom in Early Childhood Education: (Re) Imagining Learning and Being in the Outdoors. Toronto, O.N: Canadian Association for Research in Early Childhood (CAREC).


    Four-Year old children’s experiences in a forest program: Preliminary Findings (2014, April). Global Summit on Childhood. Vancouver, B.C: Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI)


    Young Children's Experiences within an Outdoor Forest Program (2013, February). Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG). Vancouver, B.C: Simon Fraser University.


    Jean Jacque Rousseau’s c18th Images of Mothers, Fathers and Children. (2012). Toronto, O.N: Association for Research on Mothering (ARM).


    Lingering Discourses: Contesting and reconstructing our images of children (2012). Wonder of Learning Conference. Vancouver, B.C: North American Reggio Emilia Alliance.


    How to be child-centered: Conducting research with young children (2011). Monthly Seminar Series. Vancouver, B.C: Simon Fraser Graduate Education Department (EGSA).


    Children’s knowledge of Natural Environment [Poster Presentation] (2011). Vancouver, B.C: Child and Nature Forum.


    8-year old child’s knowledge and relationship with nature (2010). Toronto, O.N: 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Association for Research in Cultures of Young People.


    Children’s and parents’ thoughts and feelings regarding nature in two types of locations: Comparisons and Implications (2009). North York, O.N: Association for Research on Mothering (ARM).


    Transformative literacy practices: Creating spaces for identity texts with immigrant and radicalized young children and families [co-presenter] (2008). Toronto, O.N: Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Poverty and Education Symposium (ETFO).


    Eight year old child’s knowledge and relationship with nature (2008). International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (IIQM). Edmonton: A.B: University of Alberta.


  • Teaching Philosophy

    As children, we’ve actively experienced the world through our senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing, as well as through ongoing trial and error. It seems that as we mature, experiencing the world through our senses often gets suppressed. Instead, we are taught to passively ingest the learning material we are given through formalized methods. This often results in dampening the natural curiosities and excitement we have about learning.


    I believe that all individuals, young or old, are naturally inquisitive. We seek to find answers to our own questions through direct experience of the world around us. Knowledge is not meant to be attained in a passive sense, but rather through actively seeking truths through the interactions of the daily world.


    My classroom practice aims to stimulate and uncover this natural curiosity humans hold. I see active participation as being central in my classroom, building questions and knowledge collaboratively within a team setting. As a teacher, I act as a facilitator instead of a dictator by providing necessary tools to guide learning. In order to learn collaboratively, a classroom needs to be a community. Learners should hold a sense of belonging and a place where there is trust and comfort in asking questions or holding differences of opinion. In order to learn, one must first gain comfort within his or her surroundings. As a teacher, I embrace the individuality of each student and believe that everyone possesses strengths they have gained through personal experiences, hopes and life views. This, I believe, should be valued in class. As John Dewey (1929) echoes, human beings learn by relating their own lives into their new experiences. I acknowledge this through my practice of teaching in higher learning.


    Lastly, I place high value in the sense of enjoyment within teaching and learning. Enjoyment brings satisfaction and holds great potential to empower and stimulate self-directed learning and imagination. It is a powerful tool that could be cherished in everyday life, especially in learning environments. When an individual holds a sense of pleasure in learning, it opens more opportunities for imaginative learning and problem solving - a skill that is needed for overall life success.


  • Outdoor Natural Environments

    The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused – a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love- then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to known than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate. (Rachel Carson, excerpt from ‘Sense of Wonder,’ 1964, p.45).

    As Carson (1964) points out in the above excerpt, children first need develop a spark of interest for what they are learning. They need to directly experience and engage with the material. They need to feel it, to see it, to hear it – to fully sense it. This will ignite their intrinsic motivation about wanting to learn and experience it more. To do this is very simple. Giving young children opportunities to freely spend time in an outdoor setting, such as a park for example, can allow your child to use their natural imagination, curiosity, and creativity they are naturally born with. Going on walks, play dates, hikes, visiting lakes and other forms of opportunities are just as simple, all you need is to prioritize and make time. It’s raining? Dress in layers, wear a raincoat and boots. Exploring the different seasons and weather conditions is fascinating for a child, and perhaps, yourself.



    My research interests include exploring young children's experiences and feelings in outdoor environments in today's world, and the implications that this has on caregivers. How do children see the outdoors? How do they behave? What are their struggles, and accomplishments? And lastly, what does this mean for educators and caregivers working with young children? By deepening this exploration, one may come to recognize the depth and complexity of a child's experience in nature, and the important role that adults play.



    Excerpt from:


    Carson, R. (1965). The sense of wonder. New York: Harper & Row.

  • Child-Centered Research

    The key is curiosity, and it is curiosity, not answers that we model. As we seek to know more about a child, we demonstrate the acts of observing, listening, questioning and wondering. When we are curious about a child’s words and our responses to those words, the child feels respected. The child is respected. “What are the ideas that I have that are so interesting to the teacher? I must be somebody with good ideas.” (Vivian Paley, 1986, p.127)



    As Vivian Paley stated in the above excerpt, we show respect to children when we seek out answers regarding their lives directly from them. Research with children needs to respect their personal strengths, and embrace their language of creativity and embodiment. My research methodologies strive to do follow this mentality and seek out findings using various open ended creative methods, including photography, art, book-making, drama and other prompts, as well as through casual one-on-one or group conversations. I hold knowledge of the Mosaic Approach (Clark & Moss, 2011) as well as Hermeneutic Phenomenology (van Manen, 1991;2015) for reflective practice.


    Ethics is a key factor with working alongside ‘vulnerable’ populations, including that of children. My belief is that aside from receiving permission from caregivers and educators, I strive to receive permission from the children themselves – discussing my research objectives, voluntary nature, and purpose in a child-friendly matter. It is advisable to even include consent forms written in child-friendly language, where children drew a picture to represent their agreement. As with all participants, casual reminders throughout the data collection process of the voluntary nature is recommended, depending on the duration of the study.




    Excerpts from:

    Paley, V.(1986). On listening to what children say. Harvard Educational Review, 2(56).



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