The world our children will grow up into is a very different world than the one we knew and a fundamental aspect of 21st Century teaching, and in our role as educators is to teach children about their social responsibility to the world around them and their capacity to create their own futures. UNICEF World Children’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to engage in activities and dialogue surrounding issues such as the environment, inequality, education for all, and how to make a difference through the changes we would like to make in the future to make the world a better place. This year we will be encouraging the children to consider themselves as change makers of the future and global leaders who have the ability to effect positive transformations.
At British International School of Boston (BISB) we value the personal, social, and emotional development of the children as highly as their academic attainment, and World Children’s Day facilitates an important teachable moment for the children to reflect on their lives and less fortunate children globally. Every week during our Lower School assemblies we reflect on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and focus on a particular Goal. I encourage the children to think of themselves as making a difference with every socially responsible act they engage in, and we discuss the little drops of goodness we share at school and in our communities as having a ripple effect and sending kindness and compassion out into the world.
The children understand the importance of their role in generating those moments of positivity and neighborliness and they actively participate in charitable activities both in and out of school. Our goal is for our children to strive to make their world a better place, one good deed and kind decision at a time. We have many resources available to us in order to achieve that goal, including the Nord Anglia Education (NAE) Global Campus, the International Primary Curriculum, Personal Goals Stars, and our Personal, Social, and Emotional Curriculum. We also incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals into our Enrichment time, where children participate in Global Campus lessons across Year Groups and in Houses to develop a wider sense of community spirit and belonging. Global Campus is a fabulous platform for encouraging international mindedness, and intercultural competence and provides lessons specifically designed to participate in a celebration of the diverse and interesting community we belong to. Teachers and children use Global Campus to explore backgrounds and heritage and to consider our collective vision for the future. The future world belongs to the children in our classrooms, and we maximize every resource available to us to ensure that BISB students know and understand their place and positive impact in the world of tomorrow.
Our collaboration with the United Nations and UNICEF gives us an empowering, rewarding partnership with which to engage the children in globally focused social and environmental issues and to understand world problems in an accessible and factual manner. World Children’s Day is a great way to share that knowledge and understanding with other children around the world and gives us a focal point for the social responsibility debate.
This World Children’s Day we are working on two Sustainable Development Goals in parallel and highlighting Goal number 4 – Quality Education for All, and Goal number 10 – Reducing Inequalities. We are holding a book and toy drive to collect holiday gifts for children in Boston who may not receive presents for the holidays or who may be in the hospital for the Winter Break. BISB students will add a copy of their favorite books to a new toy of their choice to donate to someone less fortunate.
The children will be participating in art activities where they will create a jigsaw puzzle piece depicting the world of the future they would like to see, and we will use each piece to make a huge mosaic that encompasses all of our children’s vision for a better world. The completed jigsaw will represent our school as a collective with every individual piece joined together and achieving as one and this is how we encourage the children to think of BISB. We achieve more together than we do apart.
Finally, the children will be taking over the school! We have asked them to plan a lesson and deliver it in groups with their teachers being in the class as a pupil and focusing on the World Children’s Day message. We have also offered the children an opportunity to be Head of Lower School for the day and they are submitting their applications via video and detailing how they would change BISB if they could. This aspect of the day will celebrate children’s voices and ideas, whilst giving them the platform to influence the decision-making process at BISB.
UNICEF World Children’s Day is a significant element of the BISB calendar and provides a purposeful and fun moment to consider the future of our children and their role in shaping the world they will inherit.