Young people need the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that will enable them to participate as full members of a global society. As global citizens, they need to consider rights and responsibilities, and the role of citizens in a democratic society.
Young people also need to engage in the global dimension to topical issues that affect them, such as global warming, migration, the arms trade and the prices of goods in the shops. They need to be able to assess the information that they receive via the media, and to understand their consumer rights and responsibilities so that they can make informed decisions as consumers, employees and later employers. Students can also learn about democracy by studying forms of government, political and justice systems at a national, European and global level.
Global citizenship for Early Years
Whilst children aged 0 to 5 are not expected to understand such complex issues, your centre can help to make them aware of the world around them to develop an understanding of their own culture and the culture of other people. This global citizenship topic not only helps to prepare children for the citizenship curriculum subject, but will also encourage children to think about the environmental and social impact of the decisions they make. For example, they will understand that wasting water is not only detrimental to the environment, but will also understand that many people in the world often don’t have enough water to drink.
The global perspective topic can also coincide with the Early Years Foundation Stage learning goals in the following ways:
Developing knowledge and understanding of the world
Having a developing awareness of their own needs, views and feelings, and to be sensitive to the needs, views and feelings of others
Having a developing respect for their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people
Choose or ask the children to help select a country they’d like to learn about. Give class talks and discussions about that country detailing the type of clothes the population wear, what they eat and drink, their hobbies / pastimes and the weather. From this, the children can draw pictures of the country and the items they now associate with them. Consider asking the children to look at what’s in their lunch box and identify where in the world the food originated from.
Discuss with the children the different weather systems of a country and how that affects the way a country functions. Design a weather tree where the children can stick paper suns or rain clouds for each day and then discuss the weather in your chosen country. This will help children understand how precious resources such as water can be to some countries and why.
Our Resources & Links section provides details of organisations that can help tackle the global perspective. This section also includes a Rupert Bear global citizenship themed comic strip.