How can I harness our rich multicultural environment to make students aware of and responsive to less fortunate communities?
Related Subjects:
Advocacy
Social Issue:
  Human Rights
Target Grade Level(s):
Grade / Year 1
Future Friendly School Values:
  Global Citizenship
PROJECT GOALS:

Project Goal

Grade 1 students learn to look outside of their local everyday life to the wider world and appreciate and affirm different cultures. They will examine how other people live, begin to see inequities and learn to be actively concerned.

Benefits to the community

- Students begin early to respect and value diversity. This will result in improved co-operation and conflict resolution.

- Students examine the issue of poverty, in particular as it relates to education. They develop their own opinions and listen to others opninion. As they grow, they become more informed critical thinking young people who can advocate for social justice and equity. Instead adopting the pervasive sense of entitlement in our culture, our children can develop more gratitude for what they have and empathy for others.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES:

We learned about the different aspects of culture; language, country, housing, food, clothing, celebrations etc. We have researched and compared Tanzanian culture with that of Canadian, in particular the education of young children. We created posters to demonstrate our understanding of the "Rights of a Child". We have completed our letters to my sponsored child in Tanzania. We have drawn our designed toys and written our procedures for how the toys work; also to be sent to Tanzania. We had a toy store and students shopped for toys and were able to independently work out the change they should receive. We made a class poster and used pastels to create flags of neighbouring states to Tanzania. We are learning how to say common phrases such as "Good morning" and "Thank you" in different languages to affirm the main languages of our classroom community (Russian, Hebrew, Farsi, Romanian).

We have yet to complete our toy designs on Pixie. We also plan to have a day of sharing when student are invited to bring an item associated with their or their parents' culture to the class.

THEORY TO PRACTICE:

The reading about Creating Inclusive Classrooms for Global Perspectives was helpful in providing the rationale for my project. We have known for decades that students need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance to be successful. It was also very important to me that I see global education not just an aside or an extra subject but that it is an integral part of the curriculum. I was pleased that I was able to incorporate writing forms (procedures and letters), nonfiction (labelling the toy design), money (toy shop), mapping (map of Tanzania), community (through our research) and art (flags of surrounding African countries) into our project.

The discussions and blogs were also helpful because they gave me much food for thought. Throughout the course, certain themes and/or words reoccurred; empathy, perspectives, change, leadership, active citizens, our responsibility to others, responding to others needs, unfairness, social justice etc. This paved the way for me to decide what to focus my project on.

Collaboration!

- I would like students throughout the school to explore ways that they could demonstrate their affirmation of and respect for the many different cultures and languages of our students and community; murals, posters, video presentations, parent lectures or interviews, show and tell etc.

- I envision the older students in our community of learners looking at the issue of poverty and examining what part our society plays in ignoring, exacerbating, or minimizing the problem. I do have another sponsored child who is 16 years old and lives in an orphanage. Perhaps older students could correspond with her to get details about what her life is like. They can then choose to use that knowledge to make a difference in her life or others in similar situation. Or they could create a mural for our school hallway to increase awareness and get people talking about the less fortunate and what our responsibility towards them is.

Contact Patsy Maitland