Session Submission Summary

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Building the foundations for global citizenship in the early years

Thu, April 18, 8:00 to 9:30am, Hyatt Regency, Bay (Level 1), Seacliff D

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session


In this session, the panelists will explore the foundations for global citizenship in the early years (birth to age eight). During the period from birth to age eight, children discover who they are, start to explore their own identity, and begin to appreciate the unique identities of others. By learning to be together and work together, they form the building blocks for global citizenship including fairness, tolerance, and responsibility, as well as foundational social and emotional skills like mindfulness, compassion, and empathy. As children's perspectives expand to encompass their school, community, nation, and the world, they take the first steps toward adopting the mindset of a global citizen—one who recognizes that in an increasingly interconnected world, we all must learn to respect one another, work together to address shared human challenges, and take action to create a more peaceful, just, and sustainable future for all.

Early childhood development (ECD) and global citizenship education (GCED) are two critical areas within the global dialogue on education access and quality which have recently received increased attention (as evidenced by the adoption of SDG 4.2 and 4.7). Although the ECD community has long understood the importance of the early years in developing the foundational skills and attitudes necessary for children to become engaged, global citizens, GCED programs and policies have tended to focus on secondary education. UNESCO, which has been leading the UN agenda on global citizenship education, has taken note. In spring 2018, the organization commissioned a study (Benavot and Chabbott, in progress) that will examine how UNESCO’s three dimensions for learning and teaching GCED—cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral—are reflected in early childhood, primary, and secondary education within a sample of 10 countries committed to GCED. The study is expected to identify any significant shifts in emphasis between the three dimensions throughout the different levels and determine whether gains in early childhood are sustained in subsequent levels of schooling. The findings of the study will feed into the planning of, and be presented at, UNESCO’s Fourth Forum on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in June 2019.

Consequently, now is a critical moment to seize the momentum created by UNESCO, elevate the importance of GCED for the early years, and advance global efforts to integrate GCED into early childhood education. This session seeks bridge ECD (SDG 4.2) and GCED (SDG 4.7) and serve as a platform for those working across these areas to engage in dialogue. We hope the session will stimulate new ways of thinking about the provision of quality education and facilitate the creation of new partnerships between diverse global education actors, including academics and practitioners, in this area. To encourage broad participation, we would like this session to be cross-listed by both the Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Citizenship and Democratic Education (CANDE) SIGs. The leaders of both SIGs are aware and excited about this proposed session.

The four presentations in the session will address the intersection of GCED and ECD by considering questions such as the following:

• What models or approaches are being used to advance GCED in early childhood education? Which are particularly innovative and proven to be effective through evidence-based research?
• What actors are doing work around GCED for the early years? How are they mobilizing other actors?
• How have new models or approaches to GCED for young children been implemented in diverse contexts, including schools in rural areas, in low-income countries, or serving disadvantaged children?
• What models or approaches to GCED for young children contribute something unique to efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
• How can innovative models and approaches to GCED for the early years be scaled up and sustained over time?

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