By Sharon Davison, Kindergarten Teacher, #TeachSDGs Educator, Vermont, USA
Collaborative efforts bring awareness, engagement, and advocacy from even young children and help to develop an appreciation for the natural world. It starts through an exploration of what the goals are, why we have them, and why it might be important for others to know about them. Then we create a plan of action.
This is our journey…
In our kindergarten classroom, we created an awareness and listed our goals, talking about why we thought they were important and what they meant to us. What was interesting was, that while we explored them and hung a poster in our classroom, they became part of our classroom culture. By doing this, it was easy for me to connect conversations that we were having with a specific goal. Through our authentic and genuine curiosity about the global goals, we all became more aware of not only what they are, but why they are important. “The why” is most important because it helped drive deeper thinking and the children then had an opportunity to be reflective.
We have been exploring all year ways that we make a difference for ourselves, our school, our family, and community. We started with an essential question…Where does waste go? We created an awareness of what we thought and then created a Padlet that we could share globally to find out what others in the world were doing. This was easy to tie into the global goals because as we created our own awareness, we also were able to think about how our actions could impact the climate and life on land. Yup! And in that, there just happens to be two global goals, Climate Action #13 and Life on Land #15.
Another way we helped make a difference for others was to build an awareness around hunger. We were curious if people were hungry: Did children have enough food? What happens if people need food? Who helps them? Again, this is another opportunity to refer to the global goals, Goal #2 Zero Hunger. My students collect food twice a year. Then, we walk to our local food shelf to make deliveries. This is always exciting for the children. They have a direct experience with what it means to help others and have empathy. This is easy to do.
Think of a need that your community has, build an awareness, and then create a plan of action that includes your students, families, and communities. Together, everyone begins to connect and weave a thread of caring because it directly impacts a need. Now, the Global Goals are a part of my classroom culture. They remind us all of what the world needs. My students understand why they are important and are creative in their ideas to find ways to make the world a better place. Even in Kindergarten, these ideas have an impact.
My students are really genuinely invested in making the world a better place. I think about the impact this could have if more and more young children were familiar making goals. Just by building an awareness, through the content I explore, we are finding ways to connect to the goals. It raises an awareness of the world and really, my students love learning about the world! Kindergarten seems like the perfect place to begin thinking about how we can collaborate globally to make the world a better place. We all need each other. The world needs all of us to care and and make wishes come true for everyone. Why not start collaborating with your students today!
My ELL teacher, Patti Tursi collaborated with me around the goals. As an ELL teacher, she has a special expertise and perspective about students who are from places other than the United States. She became a director of our first documentary on the Global Goals. She set up a filming studio in my classroom with the children, and then the children began to explore the filming equipment and play so they experience what it can be used for. Later, when we filmed, Patti taught us about being quiet on the set and about other language used for creating a film. This experience was real life and offered my students an opportunity to learn new language with a new expert.
I paint a map of the world each year with my students. We add places we visit and people we connect with. We share how we are having conversations with others and what we are learning about. Now that I am aware of the Global Goals, I can add the goals to our map, as well, as when we explore them. This is another way we can build an awareness and inspire others and think deeply about what we are doing and how we are doing it. The why of our ideas is through our own reflection and how we share our voices.
As our year came to an end, I asked my students to think about why we connect globally? Why is it important? Do you think others need to connect globally, too?
Here are some of their reasons:
Sharon Davison is a passionate Kindergarten teacher in Vermont, and she believes in sustainability and working collaboratively with others locally and globally to help solve solution-based problems. She is a former NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow where she has had an opportunity to travel abroad and mentor other teachers interested in globalizing their learning experiences with their students. She is a former National America Achieves Fellow, and she has presented nationally on the use of technology and the positive impact it has on a learning culture. Most recently she was named the PBS Digital Innovator 2017 for the state of Vermont and was a 1st place winner for the Henry Ford Innovation Award. Sharon is committed to #TeachSDGs in her classroom and believes strongly in making a difference and supporting learning for everyone. You can connect with Sharon on Twitter at @kkidsinvt, Sharon Davison on Google+, Sharon Davison Linkedin, and Sharon Davison on Facebook.