There are many comments and questions on these days about how fortunate we are to wear our PJs to work and how warm and cosy this must feel. This is always a great opener for a conversation about why we do this, how we introduce the concept to children of social justice and developing this awareness. Just like many other important issues in life, it is important to start these conversations early to offer opportunities for children to become involved in concrete ways, to ask questions and to understand how each of us can make a difference.
The notion of social justice has it beginnings originally as a religious concept, hence its place at Carey, however over time it has become more broadly conceptualised as a strong belief that all individuals everywhere should have equal access to rights, opportunities, resources and privileges in society. This social justice perspective aligns with our beliefs about the children as global citizens.
‘Global citizenship is a term used to describe the social, environmental, and economic actions taken by individuals and communities who recognise that every person is a citizen of the world.’ (Oxfam UK)
This notion of a global citizen is now being recognised and articulated in curriculum documents, our revised Early Years Learning and Development Framework (EYLF) in the second outcome area speaks directly to this – ‘for children to develop a sense of connectedness to groups and communities and an understanding of their reciprocal rights and responsibilities as active and informed citizens’. (EYLF vol 2 p39)
Finding the right balance without scaring and burdening the children with big worries of the word is important to support their awareness and their learning. At the same time, wrapping the children in bubble wrap and protecting them from big and important issues does not serve them well either. So, offering the opportunity in a safe environment at Carey to begin to discuss these issues such as homelessness, environmental sustainability, First Nations history and rights to name a few, and to have some concrete action that the children, supported by their families, can take is the first step.
Thank you for your support and generosity for the Melbourne City Mission over many years and helping the work they do in supporting homeless people in our city.
Also, your support in the bread bags recycling program and sustainability is another way we have also been working with the children this year in developing their awareness and fostering practical ways they can help and make a difference.
In the words of Maya Angelou, ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’
Director of ELC Kew