‘Education is humanity’s best hope and most effective means in the quest to achieve sustainable development.’ UNESCO report, Educating for a Sustainable Future, 1997.
At Kidizens, we are 10 weeks into our new program; Visionaries. Our aim, to develop a greater understanding of sustainability and the human impact on our planet to achieve economic prosperity and responsible citizenship. In this Best Online summer camps in the bay area 2020, the children are studying cities through the lens of economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and creating a utopian society of their own, while cultivating awareness and empathy towards global issues.
The Visionaries are undertaking a real-life journey that will develop a basic understanding of the complex challenges our societies face as they become increasingly urbanized. By exposing them to the UNICEF Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 – hunger, poverty, education, equality, clean water, climate change and innovation in infrastructure, their awareness of the world’s dilemmas along many of these dimensions is heightened.
As educators at Kidizens, we feel it is our responsibility to inform and share the possible outcomes of the world if we were to continue to expand our consumption and waste productions at the current rate. Some may believe that sharing the potential doom and gloom the world has to offer is not for young kids. However, it has been proven that it is during the early childhood period that children develop their basic values, attitudes, skills, behaviors and habits, most of which are long lasting. Therefore, if we equip our younglings with the knowledge, they can make informed and well-planned decisions for the future.
Behavior/habit change or a change in perspective is what we were hoping for when developing this curriculum. In real world situations, sanctions, legislations and incentives are put in place to encourage change. We must use a different toolbox to motivate the change or develop the passion for developing sustainable environments. We need to start small and grow our small ideas in to bigger ideas. We have created a safe environment where ideas can be proposed, tried and developed, without any long-term real-world effects. Hopefully, the small ideas will ignite an inherent desire to become civically engaged and a more permanent desire to effect change.
Our Visionaries have begun to create a city and society that they believe will be sustainable. They have created communities, where citizens can meet, worship and support one another. They have devised housing that provides food for the inhabitants and what is produced in excess is distributed to the rest of the city, through the city store. The need for currency has been minimized by the ability to barter, exchanging goods for goods or goods for skills/labor. Energy is sourced through renewable means, with each building producing its own energy, and all excess energy is distributed to the city. A ‘no car’ city has been designed – with in city transportation relying on an electric bus system that can access all areas of the city. Jobs are being created for all residents and each member of the community must contribute something back to the society, whether it be keeping the city clean, providing clothing, looking after the wildlife preserve animals or taking the city fishing boat out to fish for food. This is just the tip of the iceberg!
As the program progresses, we will be linking our efforts with Stanford’s well-developed sustainability program and trying to make positive changes in the local communities surrounding us. Already, we have heard kids return to class each week with new ideas and perspectives due to their newly heightened awareness of the sustainability needs of the world. We can’t wait to witness the impacts the program has further down the road, as the kids shape a sustainable future in their utopian LEGO city.
Learn more about our program here