I have the privilege of being a Kindergarten teacher. I work in a public school where I am completely supported by my own learning and the learning of my students. I mention this because as an educator when I am supported by my school, students and their families a very magical synergy begins in a seamless way. This synergy is what supports many different parts connecting and collaborating together to make a difference.
A couple of months ago I became aware of the Global Goals for Sustainability. This really inspired me and challenged my thinking about how I could bring these ideas to Kindergarten in Vermont. So I made a large copy of the goals and shared them with my students. I told them that in Kindergarten we all have goals. One of my goals for each of my students was to teach everyone to read. This was an example of an individual goal. When I asked my students about what do you think global goals might be, I was surprised and inspired by their ideas…
“It is when you share your idea with the world.”
“It’s like everyone wants to be kind.’
“I think it is working together.”
“Maybe it is sharing and helping people.”
Then I was able to build on their ideas. My explanation was simple.. I said; “The world needs our help. Together with if we share our ideas we can make a difference.” So we began exploring Life Below Water, then Life On Land and Peace & Justice. Through our work and exploration of these goals, all my students were able to learn new content and also begin thinking about how life on land and life underwater is important for everyone. We created murals, collages, shared our ideas on Twitter and even created a passport where we are collecting stamps of the global goals we explore.
I now have an opportunity to connect and collaborate with my talented ELL teacher, Patti Tursi, who has a unique perspective and insight. She offers her time and expertise to have small discussions with the students around the goals we have explored. Through these small discussions, we are now able to create smaller dyad groups where the children can turn and talk about what these goals are and why everyone in the world needs to know about them. Now we have another opportunity to create a movie about these goals and why they matter.
How do I know if these ideas are making a difference?
One of my students was on vacation with her family. She and her family looked at the global goals and decided that picking up trash in a park was part of goal #15 Life On Land. Children are naturally curious and want to be a part of solutions where they can make a difference. I share this with my students and they are all now even more interested in making connections with what we are exploring.
I am grateful for the flexibility and support I have as a public educator. Through my relationships with my students, families, and colleagues I have many opportunities to collaborate and connect. It is when we work alongside each other, that we are able to make a difference. It’s not about what we’ve done, but how are we inviting others to learn with us. Relationships develop, inspiration appears and all ideas are valued and challenged.
Just by having a poster up in my classroom of the global goals I am able to reference them throughout the day. Giving my students opportunities to make connections and talk about what they understand. This is an opportunity for me to model ways to care in a global way about the world. Through our ideas and experiences, we are able to share and hopefully, others will be inspired by our actions and create their own plan. I think about what the possibilities are to make the world a better place when we all work together. Endless….