How are the little learners at DUCKS (Dulwich College Kindergarten Singapore) encouraged and shaped to be global citizens? Joanne Woodward, Head of DUCKS, shares how they do it.
Why is the concept of global citizenship important to DUCKS?
The College’s mission is to develop future leaders who are equipped with the skills, knowledge and motivation to create positive and impactful contributions to the world, and to do so with a strong moral compass that guides all their decisions.
Embedded in our College guiding statements are the competencies of Innovative Learning, Environmental Sustainability, Intercultural Understanding, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Social Justice and Wellbeing. We believe these are critical for our Dulwich preschool students, starting from our youngest learners through to those preparing to head off to university, to become true global citizens.
How do you explain this idea to children?
Our young children are encouraged to be aware of the connection between how they think, feel and act, and to consider the impact of their choices and actions beyond what is immediately visible. This is the Compassionate Systems Framework (CSF) that guides all aspects of our curriculum.
Another way we help our youngest students understand the concepts around global citizenship is by using Learning Bugs with visuals and age appropriate vocabulary. These Learning Bugs are ever present around DUCKS Dulwich preschool and encourage children to:
- ask questions and learn about the similarities and differences between themselves and others;
- show empathy by discussing feelings and emotions, and employing the CSF to understand complex issues;
- take care of nature and the environment around them;
- be kind and inclusive, stand up against unfairness and treat others the way they would like to be treated; and
- participate in community service and contribute positively to impact the lives of others.
What activities do you use to introduce the concept?
A plethora of age-appropriate activities take place throughout the year. These help to nurture our young students with the values and skills of a future global citizen:
- Interacting with the natural world at Forest School. The children initiate these experiential interactions, which test their fledgeling moral compass and help develop compassion. This can be as simple as recognising the sanctity of life of other animals to integrating plant-to-plate teaching and learning opportunities.
- Fostering a sense of responsibility in the College’s children by having Year 2 students visit the younger members of the DUCKS Dulwich preschool to read to them.
- Establishing links and creating interaction opportunities with groups in the local community such as students and senior citizens from the neighbourhood, and creating gift packages during special occasions and visits.
- Identifying virtues in others by having a shared Positive Post box where children can anonymously compliment others across the school.
- Organising activity booklets for sick members of staff and residents of the care home as a meaningful way to show love to others.
- Using Compassionate Systems Thinking Tools (CSTT) to understand the needs of people in the community, exercise empathy and cultivate compassionate integrity by aligning head, heart and hand.
- Embedding CSTT into the curriculum as a way for our children to explore issues uncovered in inquiry, and through discussions and learning.
How are the children encouraged to be good global citizens?
Our teachers are equipped with the skills to support their students’ development of compassionate integrity. Our teachers model global citizenship by being kind, caring and respectful, and our children learn through observing this.
This article first appeared in the October 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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