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We explore what global citizenship education looks like for young children using the lens of the Mana Whenua/Belonging strand of Te Whāriki.

In the article Introduction to global citizenship education for young learners, we talked about how global citizenship was visible throughout all the principles and strands of Te Whāriki and how it might look for young children.

Te Whāriki framework diagram.

Ministry of Education

Belonging Strand

In this article, we look deeper at what this looks like within the Belonging strand: Children and their families feel a sense of belonging | ko te whakatipuranga tēnei o te mana ki te whenua, te mana tūrangawaewae, me te mana toi whenua o te tangata.

In order to understand what it means to be a global citizen we must first understand our own place, our own culture and identity. The path to global citizenship starts with ourselves, our whānau and our local community. The image below situates the local community within the domain of global citizenship.

Young people learn about global citizenship through context.

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

In the article Global citizenship, we note that being a global citizen begins with  young people exploring who they are in the world. This involves developing a deep understanding of self within local, regional, national and global communities. It is about being aware of, and interested in, the wider world. There are obvious connections with a stated outcome of the Belonging strand: Making connections between people, places and things in their world | te waihanga hononga. Global citizens have a deep commitment to social justice, and take an active role within their local, national and global communities to create a more sustainable and equitable world. This fits well with another outcome of the Te Whāriki belonging strand: Taking part in caring for this place (te manaaki i te taiao).

Te Whāriki suggests the belonging strand outcomes are evident when children demonstrate:

  • an ability to connect their learning in the [early education] setting with experiences at home and in familiar cultural communities and a sense of themselves as global citizens

  • interest and pleasure in learning about the wider, unfamiliar world

  • a feeling of belonging – and that they have a right to belong 

  • knowledge about features of the local area, such as a river or mountain (this may include their spiritual significance) 

  • skills in caring for the environment, such as cleaning, fixing and gardening.

How this might look  for ākonga

  • Finding out about important places in the community through hearing stories, welcoming and talking to visitors and/or trips into the community. 

  • Talking about home and places of importance to them.

  • Growing and preparing food for themselves and others. 

  • Sharing aspects of their own culture and finding out about the cultures of others.

  • Celebrating and sharing about occasions that are significant to their family and their classmates such as Matariki, Chinese New Year, Eid, Diwali etc.

  • Caring for the environment – fixing things, cleaning and taking care of their centre/school.

  • Simple recycling – putting rubbish in correct bins, having a compost bin and/or worm farm.

  • Caring for the people in their environment – other children and adults.

  • Making photo books (with adult help) of people and places that are important to them.

  • Making connections with people in other parts of Aotearoa New Zealand and other countries through letters, emails, Zoom etc.

Kite festival celebrating Matariki (Māori New Year) on the summit of Mount Roskill.

Picture books

Picture books can also be a great way to promote discussion about identity and belonging. Some examples are:

  • Mirror by Jeannie Baker

  • Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

  • Child of Aotearoa by Melanie Drewery

  • Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers

  • Little Treasures by Jacqueline K. Ogburn and Chris Raschka

  • Ko Wai Au? Who Am I? by Nesra Wale 

  • Welcome Home by Mukseet Bashir

  • Talia by Catherine Hannken

  • Papa’s Donuts by Kate Moetaua

  • Grandad by Janet Pereira

Watercress Tuna and the Children of Champion Street by Patricia Grace

Patricia Grace and Robyn Kahukiwa - Penguin Group (NZ) - Puffin

Belonging strand provocations

Te Whāriki (p35) poses some relevant questions for reflection:

  • How might kaiako (teachers) foster a sense of belonging in children of all ages and from all cultures?

  • What opportunities might kaiako offer children to connect to, respect and care for Papatūānuku (the Earth/Earth mother)?

  • How might kaiako help children and families learn more about the local area?

  • In what ways can kaiako deepen children’s relationships with people, places and things in their world? 

  • In what ways can kaiako support children to take care of or become kaitiaki (guardians) of this place?

Related articles – young children and global citizenship education

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