Cultivating Your Child’s Social Consciousness
How relevant is a child’s learning to the society in which he or she belongs? Every opportunity to learn is an opportunity to make a mark. Inside our classrooms, we aim to extend acquired knowledge as far as little minds can take them. When what begins in the mind is made concrete by their hands, we see that there has been true learning.
How can we work together to develop our children’s social consciousness? What opens their minds to the awareness that concepts can be applied to issues concerning other children like them around the world? How do we help them believe they are big enough for their actions to create a significant dent?
Discussion of relevant social issues. Dinnertime is a good opportunity to have conversations with children about current events. They may have their own sources of gathering news from social media, television, radio or word of mouth, but your presence is key to helping them process this information in a healthy and productive manner. What are their thoughts and opinions?How do they feel about the news they hear?
Exposure to socially-oriented activities for children. Pave the way for them to be involved. Community outreach projects develop a sense of responsibility in children and concretely show them means to address issues in their own capacity. Putting their skills and talents to use is the best way to ignite their spirit of volunteerism. Can they teach younger children subjects they excel in, do arts and crafts for a cause, engage in music or sports with other children in less privileged communities? What else can they do?
Writing about their experiences and realizations.Encourage them to keep a journal about their thoughts, feelings and experiences. They make take it a step further by including ideas or plans they would like to come to fruition. Recording is one effective way of raising their consciousness by remembering. They can keep going back to what they wrote and recall their opinions and even questions they may have asked themselves. Can they answer their questions eventually? Are there more questions now? Inquiring helps give them the direction they need to find their answers.
The annual Primary Years Program (PYP) Exhibit by the Grade 5 Domuschola students is a culmination of this developed skill in understanding social concerns pertaining to the youth. The theme, “Minsan Lang Tayo Maging Bata,” lent itself to a day of sharing their understanding of the reality of child abuse, child trafficking and child labor. Through field trips, online research and interviews, the data they gathered helped them get a sense of what goes on around them outside their comfort zones.
This kind of social awareness is what we want to cultivate in our children as we work together, allowing them to see fully the role they play in the big picture.