Co-Constructing a Climate-Resilient Future: Putting Our Trust in the Children

On UN Earth Day this week, our Head of School, Dr. Lea, and our Y1-2 Project Coordinator, Ms. Sam, presented a webinar to the international educational and development community entitled ‘Co-Constructing a Climate-Resilient Future: Putting Our Trust in the Children’, with a participating audience of professionals from Bangladesh to Ethiopia, Nepal to the US.

Hosted by the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood, and in collaboration with Save the Children, our educators showcased how ELC’s The City School is committed to empowering children to prepare for climate resilience and work for sustainable development, and how our Reggio Emilia approach to education cultivates those skills and character for our children to be world-changers. Our team led with a discussion on the educational foundations of our pedagogical approach, highlighting the centrality of our Image of the Child as competent, curious, and full of potential, the importance of the environment as a ‘third teacher’, and how we make learning ‘visible.’

The Year 2 Project on Rewilding was used as a case-study to demonstrate our approach to learning and to encourage reflection on the way we view children, their power, and their capabilities. The concept of rewilding – which is the concept of nature taking care of itself – provided an incredible opportunity for the children to become researchers and to navigate concepts of environmental responsibility and global citizenship. Drawing on the knowledge of rewilding experts from the UK and Thailand, and through their own research, the children set about to plan an ‘activist solution to rewilding’. They became the architects, landscape gardeners, and botanists, to transform a disused corner of our school into a rewilding space. The children laid soil, made seed bombs, hung plants and vines, built a pond to attract frogs, created a space for the bees and insects, constructed a bamboo playground for the birds and squirrels, and mosaiced their own bird bath. The space is now an ever-evolving environment in our school, which allowed the children to learn about restoring ecosystems. But more than this, Ms. Sam paid special attention during the webinar to show how ELC’s approach to learning through Project is a process that allows children to develop an understanding of who they are as learners, of how to contribute to a working group, of how to take global action, and how to inspire change in others. Project also invites educators to reflect on the Image of the Child and cultivate the ideal environments and settings where children’s agency can flourish.

Our ELC educators left the audience with a powerful message of hope and encouragement: this Rewilding Project is an example of the ways that a shift in mindset – rooted in the belief that all children are full of potential – can completely shift the education of our children, who are our greatest hope for the future, and therefore create a brighter, more resilient and sustainable future for us all.

#rewilding #earthday #ReggioEmiliaapproach

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