Global Citizenship for Young Children


Margaret Collins

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    Frances Hillier, without whom this book would not have been written; for her input and enthusiasm, her knowledge about the situation in Africa, the story of Pumela and the case study in the Appendix.

    Martin Pitman, headteacher and Christian Malone, deputy of Milford on Sea C of E School, for their willingness to talk about their global citizenship and their help during visits.

    Claire Painter, headteacher of Rowledge C of E School, Hants, for her help and enthusiasm and for sharing the many ideas in use at that school.

    Janet Roberts, headteacher and Kath King of All Saints C of E Junior School, Fleet, Hants, for sharing all they do in their school under the heading of global citizenship.

    The headteacher of Bulford C of E Primary School, Bulford, Wilts, for allowing me to visit and Janette Diomede, deputy head, for showing me around their school, sharing children's work together with a PowerPoint presentation of their link with a school in Africa.

    Teacher reviewers for their ideas and suggestions.

    George Robinson for helping to incorporate his own suggestions as well as ideas from teacher reviewers.

    About the Author

    Margaret Collins was a headteacher in infant/first schools. She is now Senior Visiting Fellow in the School of Education at the University of Southampton. She researches children's perceptions of health education topics, writes and co-writes teaching materials for children, books and articles on personal, social, health and citizenship education (PSHCE).

  • Appendix

    Milford on Sea C of E Primary School, Hampshire: A Case Study in Global Citizenship

    Written by Frances Hillier, April 2006.

    Formerly Education Adviser to Link Community Development and currently Assistant Project Officer for LCD Malawi.

    ‘Far round the world thy children sing their song;

    From East and West their voices sweetly blend,

    Praising the Lord in whom young lives are strong,

    Jesus our guide, our hero and our friend.

    When Basil Mathews, 1879–1951, wrote this children's hymn with its global and missionary theme, he can hardly have known how those ‘young lives’ would change in the next few decades. His passion and concern for making children in the UK more aware of their brothers and sisters overseas, was reflected in magazines he edited called Far Horizons and News from Afar.

    Now with the Internet, electronic encyclopedias and state of the art computer suites, children on the northern side of the equator have indeed got easy access to far horizons and news from all over the global village.

    But what about their peers to the south of that invisible dividing line? Just how much real contact can exist between children who, as the Head Teacher, Martin Pitman, said are ‘fundamentally the same, though culturally different’?

    Here at Milford-on-Sea Church of England Primary School, a few miles outside Southampton, every effort is made to enhance the pupils' awareness of their own good fortune and to help them become responsible global citizens. Opportunities abound both within and around the curriculum to promote knowledge, skills and attitudes that celebrate differences and recognise similarities. Having an ethos within the Christian tradition gives the children strong links with adults connected to their church who are working overseas.

    They learn directly from people such as Toox, the church's Ugandan missionary nurse and Geoff Hill, the family worker who has visited India and brought the pastor from their linked church to visit the school. Geoff has also shown photos of children in the Indian community in school which has brought a sense of immediacy and context to the work he does. The vicar's son has recently returned from Rwanda and gave a talk to several classes. Having a school governor who is from South Africa is another valued component of the global jigsaw and brings home the wide range of cultures and backgrounds that may be unknown to many living in the virtual mono-culture in this quiet haven in southern England.

    Library books and videos, DVDs and CD-ROMs are readily available both at the school and in the pupils' homes – the global village at the touch of a button – but what can deepen the visual and aural impact of such tools, to touch emotions and strengthen attitudes such as empathy?

    A group of articulate 11-year-old members of the School Council were keen to talk about activities they had participated in which had had such an effect.

    Pictures such as this became a living reality when the staff organised a ‘Water Aid’ fund-raising day. Some of the children walked round and round the playing field carrying buckets of water. It was their arms, rather than their necks that got tired, but the impact was imprinted in muscles as well as in minds. Water from rivers is often unclean, yet all that effort goes into collecting it every single day and children their age get sick and die from water-borne diseases. The money they raised will go towards providing the means to prevent such inequalities.

    Another ‘moving’ experience came through the visit of an Indian dance expert, Shushmita. Learning about the meaning of the movements they were asked to copy, as well as watching the graceful performer, gave greater insight into another culture. Religious symbolism and beliefs were shared together with music and dance. A study of India is already embedded in the Geography curriculum for Year 5 and so the pages of the textbooks and the flat maps in the atlas begin to take on another dimension and acquire a new life which involves real people doing real things.

    Music is a strong medium for registering emotions and motivating memory. A gamelan workshop introduces a whole new complex culture of sounds: sounds of mystery from far away, from the islands of Indonesia such as Java and Bali. The wide range of unfamiliar and more recognisable instruments gives new opportunities to ask questions and go back to the atlas to ask ‘Where in the world …?’

    As indeed does Barnaby Bear (a registered trademark of the Geographical Association) who goes on his travels and takes the youngest children to many different parts of the world.

    Citizenship and its associated values and perceptions is just one aspect of developing a global dimension to every area of this school's life. Social justice, human rights, conflict resolution, sustainable development, diversity and interdependence are all interlocking concepts that contribute to a community that is sensitive to the needs of the planet and its people.

    Many children at Milford C of E Primary will be able to make informed comments on why it is better to recycle as much household waste as possible and what Christian Aid means when they urge us to ‘recycle a goat’, ( Sending a cow to Africa had an impact on some of the School Council and they reflected on several ways in which such a gift benefited the lady who received it and wrote to say ‘thank you’. While fund-raising for current emergencies and sending shoe boxes of toys each Christmas is a constant part of the ethos of this school, there is also the deeper level of engagement with the reasons and impact of showing concern for ‘those who are less fortunate than us’.

    Assemblies for pupils and their parents address issues such as Fair Trade and Global Warming. A travelling theatre was invited to share their production about energy-saving in the home and staff and other adults have recounted stories and shown photos of their experiences in places such as Lagos, as a thriving modern city and not the stereotypical image of mud huts and poverty. Children's passion for games and sports can also provide a rich seam of thought provoking questions on the justice of child-labour issues involved in making cricket balls and trainers.

    The banana leaf collage of boys playing football that stands on the beautifully arranged table in the entrance hall speaks volumes about the values placed on the school's contacts with other countries and cultures. What is their football made of?

    Growing seeds as a sponsored activity has made children more aware of both how their own food is grown as well as researching where the goods on the supermarket shelves come from. Food miles, sustainable development and the injustice of the hunger experienced by 60 percent or more of their peers in other countries will help these children develop a deeper understanding of the inter-related issues of how they can vote with their pocket money as well as their feet.

    Putting yourself in someone else's shoes is a familiar metaphor for developing empathy, tolerance and understanding. How giant a leap is it for children in such a well-favoured school as this, to walk in the footsteps of those who have no shoes?

    One way is by having a partnership with a specific school.

    Link Community Development (LCD) is an International Development agency with a clear vision. Their literature states:

    ‘LCD's vision is of a future where children are given a chance to flourish and fulfil their potential. Our mission is to improve the potential of disadvantaged people in Africa to gain meaningful employment by sharing and developing appropriate skills through education and training. We believe that education is a basic human right and fundamental to breaking the cycle of poverty.

    Through our Link Schools Programme, UK schools can link with Ghanaian, South African, Ugandan and Malawian schools. Link Community Development runs education development projects in these countries which include over 400 schools. Link sets up the linking, helps facilitate communication and provides the UK school with a detailed profile of the African school, background information, suggestions for development education activities and annual updates from the Link project that your partner school is part of.

    A link with an African school can teach UK children about the wider world and help them develop into Global citizens who participate in the community at both the local and international level. Not only is this an opportunity for staff and pupils to make lasting friendships, but also to make the curriculum more interesting and immediate. Schools involved in curriculum-related international work can also gain accreditation under the International School Award Scheme.

    Milford C of E Primary is clearly well along the path of developing Global Citizens. By committing to a partnership with a school on the other side of the world, they may well find that their global world becomes even richer.

    With thanks to the Head, staff and pupils of Milford C of E Primary school for their time and co-operation.


    Andersson, S. (1980) No Two Zebras are the Same, Lion Publishing, Tring, UK
    ArnottK. (1989) African Myths and Legends, OUR
    Goble, P. (1998) Legend of the White Buffalo Woman, Geographic Soc.
    McCaughrean, G. (2001) 100 World Myths & Legends, Orion.
    Naidoo, B. (1999) Journey to Jo'burg, Collins Modern Classics.
    JeffersS. (1993) Brother Eagle, Sister Sky, A Message from Chief Seattle, Puffin.
    Smith, D. J. (2003) If the world were a village, Black, London.
    Books for Children
    Barker, A. (1994) India, Worldfocus books Heinemann, Oxford.
    Bastyra, J. (1996) Homeless, Evans Bros, London (Life files series, other titles in series).
    Brown, J. (1998) Comic Relief, Heinemann, Oxford.
    Burke, P. (1997) Eastern Europe from World Fact Files, Macdonald Young Books (other books in this series).
    Haughton, E. (2000) Equality of the Sexes?Franklin Watts, London.
    Khan, E. and Unwin, R. (1997) Pakistan, Wayland Publishers, Hove.
    Macdonald, F. and Weaver, C. (2003) Human Rights, Chrysalis Children's Books, London.
    Matthews, J. (1993) I come from Vietnam, Aladdin Books Ltd, London.
    Simonds, R. (1998) Stand Up for your Rights, Peace Child International, Two-Can Publishing Ltd., London.
    Stearman, K. (1999) Women's Rights, Wayland Publishers, Salop.
    Wignall, P. (2000) Prejudice and Difference, Heinemann, Oxford.
    The Taking Action Series Includes
    Kozak, M. (1997) Greenpeace, Heinemann, Oxford.
    Clayton, E. (1997) Oxfam, Heinemann, Oxford.
    Spilsbury, L. (2000) NSPCC, Heinemann, Oxford.
    Worldfocus books, published by Heinemann; a series of books about various developing countries, including Bangladesh, Kenya and Brazil.
    Heinemann Series
    Kadodwala, D. and Gateshill, P. (1995) Celebrate Hindu Festivals, Heinemann, Oxford.
    Wood, A. (1995) Celebrate Jewish Festivals, Heinemann, Oxford.
    Knight, K. (1955) Celebrate Islam Festivals, Heinemann, Oxford.
    Also in series – Christian, Sikh and Buddhist festivals.
    Collins, M. (2001) Because We're Worth It, London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Collins, M. (2002) Circling Round Citizenship, London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Collins, M. (2002) Because I'm Special, London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Collins, M. (2004) Circling Safely, Paul Chapman Publishing, London.
    Collins, M. (2004) But is it Bullying?Paul Chapman Publishing, London.
    Collins, M. (2007) Circle Time for the Very Young,
    2nd edition
    , Paul Chapman Publishing, London.
    DfEE (2000) Developing a global dimension in the school curriculum, ref. DfEE 0115/2000.
    Fountain, S. (1994) Learning Together – global education 4–7, Cheltenham, Stanley Thornes.
    Kerr, D. (1999) Re-examining citizenship education, the case of England, NFER, Slough.
    Wetton, N. and Collins, M. (2002) Citizenship – the challenge, HIT Publications, Liverpool.
    Wetton, N. and Collins, M. (2003) Pictures of Health, Belair Publications Ltd., Dunstable.
    Useful Organisations
    Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT)
    Citizenship Foundation
    Ferroners House, Shaftesbury Place, Aldersgate St, London EC2Y 8AA, Tel: 020 7367 0500
    Council for Education in World Citizenship
    14 St Swithin's Lane, London EC4N 8AL
    Tel: 020 7929 5090
    DfES Citizenship
    Institute for Citizenship
    62 Marylebone High Street, London W1M 5HZ
    Tel: 020 7935 4777
    National Healthy Schools Standard
    83 Piccadilly, London W1J 8QA
    Schools Council UK
    57 Etchingham Road, London N3 2EB
    Tel: 020 8349 2459
    For Teaching Resources to download ‘Developing the global dimension in the school curriculum’ from Global Dimension
    Global Education Derby –
    Teaching resource for an in-depth critical debate about poverty.
    Useful Websites
    Part of the Make Poverty History (MPH) official website with resources for schools.
    Global Call to Action Against Poverty website.
    Official UN site about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
    A UN campaign site on the MDGs.
    Interactive youth site about the MDGs.
    A site for young people, encouraging them to campaign on the MDGs.
    Campaign site about MDG 2 universal primary education) with a useful teachers' section.
    UK Government official G8 website.
    Children's version of the G8, run by UNICEF.
    Testimonies from the Global South on the effects G8 policies have on their lives.
    Site for the annual One World Week. This year's theme is Promises, Promises, relating to the G8 and the MDGs.
    A site to enable teachers to bring a global perspective to teaching.
    Jubilee Debt Campaign.
    Trade Justice Movement.
    World Development Movement.
    Free downloadable MPH teaching pack with excellent, easy to understand background information plus pupil activities.
    A site that offers support for teachers wishing to explore Africa in the classroom.
    Focus on the Global South website.
    Provides links to development education centres around the UK.
    Provides information for delivery of health education in schools.
    Picture Books
    For foundation age children to read online and information for age groups: foundation, 5–7, 7–11, help them to visit:
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