Children need to be taught how to create social change to and be actively engaged in the society that they will one day be responsible for. It is our role as educators to provide students with education on how to speak for what they believe in, and to help them understand what is going on in the world around them.
Looking at the planning for social activism guide that we worked through in ECMP355, there are many factors that need to be considered when implementing a social action project. I believe that to begin, social change needs to start small and within the community. Once students are familiar with the idea of speaking for social change and making a difference, they can expand their projects more globally.
I never had the opportunity to be involved in social activism projects during my school years. I have a passion for the outdoors and would’ve loved the opportunity to be involved in one relating to the environment. In high school, I was in an Environment 30 class. I remember my brother being in this class and being involved in a project speaking out to Stephen Harper about climate change, as part of a social activism project being developed by David Suzuki.
In order to get children involved in social activism, The Freechild Project mentions the three things that youth need:
Education is key. One way I like to teach young children about new concepts is through storytelling. I found a variety of books that are great reads for introducing students to becoming young activists and teaching them that it is okay to stand up for what you believe in.
In regards to technology, I believe social activism should be expressed in both person and online. This website is a really great read on how to get youth involved in developing online activism.
I believe that there are numerous opportunities for students to become socially active and still connect it with the curriculum. In science, students could develop social activism projects around the earth and environment, or its resources. In social, projects could be developed around people’s rights or inclusion.
I would like to hear some of your ideas of how we could incorporate social activism projects into an elementary curriculum!