Fostering student awareness of social, economic, and political problems can be overwhelming, and facilitating student informed action plans often seems out of reach in an already over-crowded schedule. However, early and reinforced engagement in research about societal issues combined with outreach activities are essential to fostering the citizenship skills that future generations will need.
Workshops first introduce key documents that present local and global goals for healthier living, for both people and the planet. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Sustainable Development Goals for Peace and Security, the Convention on Rights of the Child, and documents related to principles of democracy. All have age-specific publications available, and can be related to current events that children see and hear about daily.
Next, workshops help teachers with strategies for motivating students to develop critical thinking skills and habits of mind. Students research complex societal issues, and learn to critically examine information from multiple sources, to challenge their assumptions and biases. This is accompanied by discussions with experts who are invited into the classroom. These activities are prelude to designing and implementing informed action plans, which require working collaboratively with peers and members of the community. Culminating outreach activities, including presentations to broader audiences and celebrations of success, provide positive reinforcement for young citizens.
GRADE LEVELS: Primary through High School