Life Below Water

At the start of the new decade a time of reflection swept the world and global goals shaped many of these moments, particularly with the devastating fires sweeping Australia. 10 years ago though, the United Nations replaced the “Millennium Goals” with the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.

“The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

United Nations Development Programme

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All 193 member countries of the United Nations signed and agreed to take action towards these goals, including Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, we have permission from the leaders of our countries to take action towards these goals in our classrooms. It is our duty to educate our students on these global issues.

But how might we tackle such huge topics with the youngest children in our schools?

Kristi Meeuwse and I designed a series of a lessons around plants, animals and people which might help teach towards some of these global goals. Let’s start this blog series by exploring lesson ideas which can support Goal 14: Life Below Water.

Goal 14 sets targets to reduce marine pollution, sustainably manage coastal areas, regulate overfishing and increase scientific knowledge of marine biodiversity.

There are 3 books in the ‘Young Children Can Create… a better planet’ series and each book contains activities to use drawing, photography, video and music. These creative mediums help young children to capture their world and make decisions about their environment or learn about other habitats.

Here are some examples of activities to help young children engage with Goal 14: Life Below Water.

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Measuring Material Footprints

We have 10 years until the deadline for meeting targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of universal goals that address the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world. The debate is already out as to whether we have achieved any of these targets or not.

“The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

United Nations Development Programme

Screenshot 2020-01-18 at 10.29.23

All 193 member countries of the United Nations signed and agreed to take action towards these goals, including Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, we have permission from the leaders of our countries to take action towards these goals in our classrooms. It is our duty to educate our students on these global issues.

But how might we tackle such huge topics with the youngest children in our schools?

Kristi Meeuwse and I designed a series of a lessons around plants, animals and people which might help teach towards some of these global goals. This is the second blog post of this series which will explore lesson ideas which can support the teaching of Goal 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production.

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It is predicted that by 2050 we will be need the equivalent of three planets to sustain our current lifestyles. Therefore Goal 12 sets targets to sustainably manage our natural resources and use them efficiently. Air, soil, food and water conditions are all monitored in this goal. Recycling paper, plastic and aluminium is fundamental to improving consumption and production targets.

There are 3 books in the ‘Young Children Can Create… a better planet’ series and each book contains activities to use drawing, photography, video and music. These creative mediums help young children to capture their world and make decisions about their environment or learn about other habitats.

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Here are some examples of activities to help young children engage with Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

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Life on Land

At the start of the new decade a time of reflection swept the world and global goals shaped many of these moments, particularly with the devastating fires sweeping Australia. 10 years ago though, the United Nations replaced the “Millennium Goals” with the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.

“The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”

United Nations Development Programme

Screenshot 2020-01-18 at 10.29.23

All 193 member countries of the United Nations signed and agreed to take action towards these goals, including Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Therefore, we have permission from the leaders of our countries to take action towards these goals in our classrooms. It is our duty to educate our students on these global issues.

But how might we tackle such huge topics with the youngest children in our schools?

Kristi Meeuwse and I designed a series of a lessons around plants, animals and people which might help teach towards some of these global goals. Let’s start this blog series by exploring lesson ideas which can support Goal 15: Life on Land.

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Goal 15 sets targets to sustainably manage forests in order to protect wildlife, combat climate change, preserve indigenous communities and maintain natural resources.

There are 3 books in the ‘Young Children Can Create… a better planet’ series and each book contains activities to use drawing, photography, video and music. These creative mediums help young children to capture their world and make decisions about their environment or learn about other habitats.

Here are some examples of activities to help young children engage with Goal 15: Life on Land.

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The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Video

I’m always excited to hear from followers of my blog and connecting with readers through Twitter or by e-mail. Recently, teachers from Mere Green Primary have shared ways they have been using the Young Children Can Create books, which I published with Kristi Meeuwse and Jason Milner in August 2018. This is the third blog post which has been written by Rebecca Murray from Mere Green Primary School. In this post, Rebecca shares the impact that The Rich Potential of Young Children’s Video guide has had on early years practice.

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Rebecca Murray is the IT Lead for Early Years at Mere Green, she has 5 years of teaching experience in Early Years and promotes the use of iPads to encourage levels of independence.
Mere Green Primary School is an outstanding two form entry, family orientated school. We are driven to ‘make a difference’ for all our children, through support, nurture and trust. In addition to our mainstream children, we also have 20 places for children with statements for speech, language and communication from North Birmingham, who have enhanced speech provision across the school day. We are a fully inclusive primary school, which reflects the society in which we live.  We have a whole school vision for embedded use of IT to enhance authentic learning opportunities.

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British Science Week: Film Focused Talk

British Science Week is a 10 day program which took place between 8-17 March in 2019. This year the theme was ‘Journeys’ and our young children learned about journeys over land, by sea and through the air. But before my early learners set out designing vehicles to test each day I wanted to focus their attention on time passing as a journey and noticing changes that come as time passes.

In a short activity with ‘foam burst’ shower gel and cups, children observed how the shower gel became a cup of bubbles over a couple of minutes. It was hard for them to appreciate how the foam had started out as gel just minutes before though. When asked ‘how has it changed’ the responses were limited to the state now ‘it’s bubbles’ rather than the journey of change.

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Young Children Can Create

In England we teach young children (Birth to 5 years old) from a non-statutory curriculum now known as Early Years Outcomes (formally Development Matters). The curriculum is structured around 7 areas of learning but themed on A Unique Child, Parent Partnerships, Enabling Environments and Learning & Development. Learning across these themes, principles and areas of learning are woven together through The Characteristics of Effective Learning.

Development Matters, and Early Years Outcomes, explain that theEE theme Enabling Environments theme should ‘value all people’ and all learning. Yet there is a division in the early years community about the role of technology in learning. Our young children have access to technology in the home and there are an abundance of reports and opinions claiming screen time is a contributing factor towards low attainment in physical, social and language development. For this reason, there are settings who switch off to technology provision.

Technology is the one strand in our early years curriculum, and throughout the National Curriculum, where the application in the learning environment is different to the application at home:

  • talking at home is similar to talking at school,
  • sharing at home is similar to sharing at school,
  • reading at home is similar to reading at school,
  • numbers at home is similar to numbers at school,
  • whereas technology at home is different to technology at school.

At home, children (and adults!) watch TV and video rather than film movies ourselves. We use the internet at home to browse and shop. We more often choose to listen to music rather than make it. We look at photographs at home rather than take them. We regularly relax in front of screens. 

At school and nursery, the Early Learning Goal for Technology states that children should ‘select and use technology for particular purposes’. In the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 this extends to digital skills such as using images, video and sound for creative projects.

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Photo 1: Drawing characters on to photographs. Photo 2: Looking for habitats.

We should be teaching children how to create with technology, in meaningful ways that are cross-curricular where ‘experiences respond individual needs’ and interests.

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Stories of a Lifetime: How to join this global story project!

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“How might we keep local legends, myths and fables alive whilst also sharing our place in the world?”

Stories of a Lifetime came together after a project between my foundation class and Jason Milner’s year 4 class in Sydney. For World Book Day 2016, my class studied stories from Australia as part of a whole school worldwide story project. To bring story telling to life, Jason’s class wrote and retold the story of Tiddalic the Frog. They illustrated the story and pieced it together using iMovie. The impact this form story telling and knowledge exchange had on my early years class was huge! Hearing the story retold by children who care about the story was much more meaningful, giving them greater context and a purpose to retell and write this story themselves. Here you can see children in my class writing the story of Tiddalic the Frog…

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“This is a boxed-up, ready to go, 1 week project I can use with my class. It’s a cross-curricular, local study my class work on and technology brings it together.”

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