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Pedagogical strategies that support young children’s civic action: An example from Aotearoa

Jenny Ritchie and Jared Lambert

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti, 2001) highlights our role as educators in the “preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples” (Article 29(1)(d)). Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 2017) requires kaiako to view young children as both local kaitiaki and as global citizens. In a recent study we sought to understand how young children might enact such citizenship rights through the demonstration of civic action; that is, actions in support of those in the community of their early childhood care and education setting. Key findings were the wide range of such actions performed spontaneously by young children, and the significant role of the teachers in proactively modelling and fostering foundational dispositions of empathy, kindness, caring, and co-operation through adopting a team approach to deliberate, thoughtful pedagogical processes.

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